The Government of B.C. has anounced they will provide $77.1 million to Victoria High for seismic upgrades and a 200-seat expansion. The upgrade will also include a new neighbourhood learning centre for child care programs.
“Our community has long been waiting for this project to move forward, and I’m excited to know it’s being done in the best way possible,” Finance Minister Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “For over 100 years, Victoria High School has served families in our community. Today’s announcement of a safer school, more classrooms and new child care spaces will better support learners for decades to come.”
According to the government, the upgrades will provide a safer school, while preserving the iconic exterior elements of the oldest high school in western Canada. These elements include the terracotta, granite and brick masonry. The plan says the interior marble, art glass and painted wood panels will also be preserved.
“We are thrilled to learn about the investment in Victoria High. This is great news for our students, staff and community,” said Jordan Watters, chair, Greater Victoria School Board. “We are able to seismically secure a school with a high level of need, create space for increasing enrolment in the Victoria High catchment, improve accessibility and add amenities that will benefit the whole community, all while preserving the heritage of this landmark that represents so much to so many. We are grateful that this remarkable 1914 building will be able to serve students for another 100 years.”
Construction is expected to begin in August 2020 and be completed by 2022. The project was supposed to start this year but it was pushed back for community consultation.
While the project is underway, Vic High students will be relocated to the SJ Willis Education Centre.
This investment is part of the Seismic Mitigation Program that has approved approximately $750 million in seismic upgrades at 37 different B.C. schools, according to the government. Vic High is the third school in the Greater Victoria School District to receive funding.
Back in 2011, Victoria High added the Fairey technical wing, which meets current building codes and does not require upgrades.