Vancouver Island School of Art, pictured in the top left, will make its new home at Ross Terrace, a new development slated for the 2500-block of Fifth Street, pictured here on the right. Photo courtesy Aryze Developments

Vancouver Island School of Art, pictured in the top left, will make its new home at Ross Terrace, a new development slated for the 2500-block of Fifth Street, pictured here on the right. Photo courtesy Aryze Developments

Vancouver Island School of Art sets course for new Victoria campus

Partnership with private developers ARYZE, Purdey Group, the first of its kind in the city

The Vancouver Island School of Art has found a new home – pending approval from the City of Victoria.

In a release, VISA said plans are in process with ARYZE Developments and Purdey Group, to move into a 6,000 sq. ft. space currently under consideration as part of the proposed mixed-use residential project Ross Terrace, in the 2500-block of Fifth Street in Quadra Village.

School District 61, VISA’s current landlord, gave notice a year ago they would be evicting the art school from its Quadra Street location (effective Aug. 31), citing a need for the building as a result of increasing enrollment.

In April, executive director Wendy Welch told the News, “We want to stay here, the neighbourhood wants us to stay here.” The new location is just a stone’s throw – the properties border each other – from VISA’s current location, its home of 13 years.

“The school has been part of the Quadra Village for 13 years and this will ensure that its integral role continues on,” said Colette Baty, president of VISA. “We believe this groundbreaking project fits perfectly with the City’s desire to incentivize developers to contribute toward cultural spaces.”

RELATED: Vancouver Island School of Art looking for new home

ARYZE and Purdey withdrew their initial application for the development when they heard about VISA’s dilemma.

A revised application for three side-by-side properties at the Fifth Street location will soon be submitted; it’s the first of its kind in Victoria, where a not-for-profit cultural institution will partner with a private developer.

The initiative falls in line with the City’s Arts and Cultural Strategic Plan, encouraging investment entities and cultural spaces to work together.

“We see this as a rare opportunity to support the school and cultural arts generally,” said Luke Mari, head of development with Purdey Group. “Yes, we’re developers, but we’re also urbanists and keeping one of the last art schools in the city is quite important.”

There is strong community support for the school and a desire to keep it in the community, he added.

The new space will decrease the size VISA is used to operating in, but will include two large multi-purpose classrooms, a gallery, several studio spaces, a communal kitchen, lounge/library space and outdoor terrace.

The project is contingent on an approved rezoning from the City, but Mari said the hope is to start construction in spring 2019 with a completion date of Sept. 2020.

In the meantime, VISA is still working with SD61 to extend the lease at 2549 Quadra St.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Former Oak Bay High Grade 12 student Brandon Kip plays the $100,000 Steinway piano in the Dave Dunnet Theatre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay High Alumni Association passes torch to new president

The association has given back more than $70,000 in its 16 years

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

This photo courtesy of Leanne Grover shows the immediate aftermath of the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents. (Leanne Grover/Submitted)
Residents of a Central Saanich duplex ‘fortunate’ to escape Sunday morning fire

Damage to the duplex extensive with one resident said to be ‘catatonic’ after escaping building

After more than a year, open forums will resume at a Saanich committee of the whole meeting on April 19 with up to five residents having the chance to speak for three minutes each about any district-related matter. (Black Press Media file photo)
Public input resumes at Saanich council following lengthy suspension due to pandemic

Up to five residents can present by phone for up to three minutes starting April 19

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read