Old times meet future at Oak Bay High reunion

Mark Johnson and Kogaylene Ruddick look through a class picture scrapbook in the Oak Bay High archives room during Sunday’s alumni reunion visitors’ day.

Past grads get chance to view school’s proposed new look

With eyes closed and ears open, one might have imagined it was a regular school day at Oak Bay High.

Except the voices emanating in the hallways and classrooms in the venerable building Sunday afternoon came from folks with, in some cases, a lot more grey hair or a lot less hair in general than the current crop of students.

Visiting day, part of the school’s 80-year alumni weekend, saw grads and teachers from decades past and present gather to celebrate one of the last such events in the building.

Oak Bay High is slated for replacement in the next two to three years.

In the archive room, Mark Johnson (class of ‘69) and sister Kogaylene Ruddick (class of ‘71) perused a binder filled with class pictures. In the lower floor hallway, Mike Dalzell (class of ‘63) looked fondly at photos of his senior rugby team.

“I haven’t been back here since 1963,” the Cordova Bay resident said with a grin.

Oak Bay High has definitely been a family affair. Dalzell’s older sister, Wendy, graduated two years before him and younger brother, Peter, finished in 1968.

Not only did the event offer people a chance to get reacquainted with old friends and teachers and revisit their old high school haunts, it gave principal Dave Thomson an opportunity to talk to a wider audience about plans for the new school.

As alumni approached an architect’s renditions of the new building, Thomson described how the design would create a much more user-friendly structure for school users and community members than the current one.

He later talked about how the new school would incorporate some of the iconic aspects of the existing building.

Such features as the hardwood floor in the cafeteria would be lifted and used somewhere in the new school, he said, along with a plaque indicating it came from the 1929 building.

Likewise for some of the colourful Malibu floor tiles installed in the 1960s inside various entranceways.

Some visitors on alumni day Sunday voiced sadness over the fact the old building will be torn down. Former commerce teacher Val Egan hoped that perhaps the current facade could be somehow utilized in the design, to create a building with more character.

editor@oakbaynews.com

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