Child-care spaces, artificial turf, and a community learning space are among the upgrades coming to Western Canada’s oldest secondary school.
The B.C. government recently announced that 36 new child-care spaces, as well as an artificial turf field and a dedicated community learning space, will be installed at Vic High.
Vic High, which is located in the city’s Fernwood neighbourhood, is currently undergoing $77.1 million in seismic upgrades and expansion. The province says an additional $2.6 million in funding will come from the Greater Victoria School District to help cover the costs of the new additions to Vic High, bringing the overall project to just under $80 million.
“While schools are the foundation of learning for students, they also are important community hubs,” said Jennifer Whiteside, the province’s minister of education in a press release issued Saturday. “Upgrading and expanding this historic building will ensure students and staff can learn in a safe building that better supports their education while retaining the iconic look and feel of this important landmark.”
The new childcare spaces will cost $1.4 million, money that is already included in the overall project but will be coming from the province’s ChildcareBC New Spaces Fund.
The province says child care staff have completed Indigenous inclusion training and will provide pre and post-natal programming for families.
“The pandemic has highlighted how critical early learning and child care is to families, communities and our economic recovery,” said Katrina Chen, minister of state for childcare in the press release. “Improving access to child care creates more opportunities for parents, particularly mothers, to go back to work or school and provides children the best possible start in life.”
Meanwhile, according to the Greater Victoria School District, the dedicated community learning space will serve as an office and meeting space for the Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria, a non-profit organization that helps settle refugees into the Greater Victoria area.
The district also says it will be working with the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group to offer child care and with the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health.
Upgrades to the school began in 2020. The upgrades are planned to be ready for spring 2023.
Here is a look inside Victoria High as it undergoes seismic improvements. More than 100 crew are on-site daily to complete a safer school for students and staff by September 2023. Demolition is now nearing completion and concrete shear walls are being poured. #sd61learn pic.twitter.com/Xa2AtVEv5s
— Greater Victoria SD (@sd61schools) June 18, 2021