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

Mt. Washington to open ZipTour

Multi-stage zipline is largest summer investment in resort’s history

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

ELECTION 2018: Vancouver Islander politician ending unprecedented 40-year run

Mike Kokura served on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board since 1972

Surge in requests for help, reports of sexual assault since #MeToo

Growing demand for Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic’s services in first year of #MeToo

Growing numbers of Vancouver Islanders get flu shots

In 2017 alone, more than 240,000 people got vaccinated

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

West Shore RCMP put best foot forward

Interaction with community a key focus of foot patrols

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Surge of theft from vehicle in Sidney, North Saanich

Three in five cars stolen on Saanich Peninsula had keys or fobs in or nearby

Most Read