SD61 superintendent Piet Langstraat is eager for public input on how to proceed with seismic upgrades for Vic High. The school is rated an H-1 on the seismic scale, making it the highest, most vulnerable in terms of school buildings in the province. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Vic High needs seismic upgrades

It’s ranked as the most vulnerable school in the province

Victoria High School is long overdue for seismic upgrades, but the district has a few options to consider, and they want to consult with the community before deciding on how to best proceed.

“Vic High is ranked as the highest, most vulnerable in terms of school buildings in our province,” School District 61 superintendent Piet Langstraat said. The building has a seismic rating of H-1, meaning it would keep people safe in the event of an emergency, but would not be safe for use after the fact.

“It’s a very vulnerable building,” he added.

To date, 17 of the district’s 27 buildings deemed “high-risk” have been upgraded. At Vic High, upgrades have been “approved in principle” but the district must present a project definition report for final funding approval.

A basic upgrade that would also address the building’s systems (the school’s boiler also needs to be replaced) could cost up to $70 million. To retain the exterior of the 104-year-old building and rebuild the interior – similar to what Central Middle School did – would run well over $100 million. To demolish the current structure and build a completely new school on the same land comes with a price tag in the $50-$60 million range.

“What we’re building or renovating today.. is not a school for today, it’s a school for fifty to sixty years from now,” Langstraat said.

Vic High opened May 1, 1914 just before the start of the First World War, and while the property is listed on the heritage registry, it is not a designated heritage building.

The school currently operates at capacity with 850 students in its 15,000 square metres. However, there are close to 300 students in the neighbourhood that can’t be accommodated at the school; roughly 1,150 students live in the catchment area.

A report from the district predicts 2,000 more students will enroll at Vic High in the next ten years, and a new school could accommodate 1,000 students.

“Not only does the board need to consider the safety of its buildings, but it needs to think about need into the future in terms of space,” Langstraat said.

The district is holding two open houses, April 7 from 9 a.m. until noon and April 18 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Vic High in the gymnasium. The community is encouraged to ask questions, and provide input that will then be presented to the Board of Education in May, before a decision is made in June.

In the meantime, you can check out the facilities plan and specific school information at sd.61.bc.ca or fill out an online survey, set to run during the month of April.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria Police host Faith-Based Safety Forum in light of recent religious attacks

More than 35 faith-based leaders voice concerns, air questions

Still barriers to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Oak Bay dog walk benefits guide dogs

Two more walks set for Sunday in Victoria and Colwood

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read