Victoria High School will be getting some seismic upgrades rather than being torn down. (file photo)

Vic High saved from wrecking ball

SD61 committee recommends two seismic upgrade options for aging high school

Victoria High School needs seismic upgrades, but demolition is off the table for now.

The operations, policy and planning committee of the Greater Victoria School Board voted to recommend two seismic upgrade options for the school, eliminating a third which would have meant tearing down the 104-year-old structure.

The motion will be considered by the Board of Trustees at the end of June, at which point the superintendent will make a presentation to the provincial government, who will make the final decision.

“We did a fairly long consultation with the community, school, parents, teachers … we tried to involve as many people as possible in the decision making,” said SD61 vice-chair Tom Ferris. “Based on that, it seemed obvious one of the things people were definitely looking for was some sort of heritage preservation.”

RELATED: Vic High needs seismic upgrades

Ferris said the committee heard from over 1,700 people in its efforts to weigh public opinion on the project. “We have a very heavy binder full of commentary,” he added.

Seismically upgrading the existing building and upgrading the building’s systems—the school’s boiler needs to be replaced—would cost up to $70 million. To retain the exterior of the building and rebuild the interior, similar to work done on Central middle school, would run between $100 million and $110 million.

Both options include a complete seismic upgrade of the school, while the second would include construction of a neighbourhood learning centre for the community, at an increased cost. Ferris said any changes to the school will also signal the beginning of a change for the Fernwood community.

“Obviously, this is a big change and we know that at the same time we’ll be consulting with the public about the building and what it looks like,” he said. “When that happens, the City will also be looking at a long-term, aligned plan with the neighbourhood.”

Whichever option is approved, Vic High students will need to move out while the work is underway. In Sept. 2019 classes would be held at the S.J. Willis Educational Centre, which is currently being upgraded to meet that need.

The Board of Education will make its decision by the end of June, with a decision anticipated from the province by this fall.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

– With files from Kristyn Anthony

Just Posted

Wait times for ICBC road tests increase in Victoria

Increase has no connection with tests becoming more challenging: ICBC

Smoking pot? Your dentist wants to know

Vancouver dentist and cannabis researcher shares oral health concerns of marijuana

Pot regulation hazy for Sooke businesses

Sooke stores will continue to operate after Oct. 17

Fall-ing for unseasonably warm weather in Victoria

Environment Canada forecast calls for sunshine through weekend

Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

The B.C.-wide, one-and-a-half-minute drill will be held Thursday

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

CFL expecting little to no impact from legalization of marijuana in Canada

The league tests only for performance-enhancing substances and not recreational drugs like cannabis

BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Arbitrator found Chilliwack school district did not hire enough on-call teachers or librarians

Mt. Washington to open ZipTour

Multi-stage zipline is largest summer investment in resort’s history

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Most Read