Vic High saved from wrecking ball

SD61 committee recommends two seismic upgrade options for aging high school

Victoria High School needs seismic upgrades, but demolition is off the table for now.

The operations, policy and planning committee of the Greater Victoria School Board voted to recommend two seismic upgrade options for the school, eliminating a third which would have meant tearing down the 104-year-old structure.

The motion will be considered by the Board of Trustees at the end of June, at which point the superintendent will make a presentation to the provincial government, who will make the final decision.

“We did a fairly long consultation with the community, school, parents, teachers … we tried to involve as many people as possible in the decision making,” said SD61 vice-chair Tom Ferris. “Based on that, it seemed obvious one of the things people were definitely looking for was some sort of heritage preservation.”

RELATED: Vic High needs seismic upgrades

Ferris said the committee heard from over 1,700 people in its efforts to weigh public opinion on the project. “We have a very heavy binder full of commentary,” he added.

Seismically upgrading the existing building and upgrading the building’s systems—the school’s boiler needs to be replaced—would cost up to $70 million. To retain the exterior of the building and rebuild the interior, similar to work done on Central middle school, would run between $100 million and $110 million.

Both options include a complete seismic upgrade of the school, while the second would include construction of a neighbourhood learning centre for the community, at an increased cost. Ferris said any changes to the school will also signal the beginning of a change for the Fernwood community.

“Obviously, this is a big change and we know that at the same time we’ll be consulting with the public about the building and what it looks like,” he said. “When that happens, the City will also be looking at a long-term, aligned plan with the neighbourhood.”

Whichever option is approved, Vic High students will need to move out while the work is underway. In Sept. 2019 classes would be held at the S.J. Willis Educational Centre, which is currently being upgraded to meet that need.

The Board of Education will make its decision by the end of June, with a decision anticipated from the province by this fall.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

– With files from Kristyn Anthony

Just Posted

Vancouver Island University shows off new fish health lab

Provincially funded Centre for Innovation in Fish Health unique in B.C.

Editorial: Looking back at windstorm helps us prepare for next time

BC Hydro says it was the most destructive storm in its history

Seniors deferring property taxes up 55 per cent in four years: report

Program allows people over the age of 55 to defer payment of municipal property taxes

Port Alberni man trekking the Sahara Desert in support of women and children

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Four out of 10 Canadians shopped from their mobile devices in 2018

In 2014, mobile devices accounted for 12 per cent of online purchases

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Wind, tides could combine for 7-metre Long Beach waves Saturday

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read