President of Metchosin Museum Society Pat Holloway (right), project manager of the Metchosin Schoolhouse Bob Burgis and vice president Jim MacPherson will be on site Thursday to watch the 148-year-old building being raised for ground restoration. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

President of Metchosin Museum Society Pat Holloway (right), project manager of the Metchosin Schoolhouse Bob Burgis and vice president Jim MacPherson will be on site Thursday to watch the 148-year-old building being raised for ground restoration. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Metchosin heritage building gets a lift

Happy Valley Road intermittently closed on Thursday

A 148-year-old Metchosin building is getting a facelift – an entire house lift to be exact.

Happy Valley Road will close intermittently on Thursday, Nov. 5 as crews work to lift the Metchosin Schoolhouse for ground restoration, a long overdue project according to locals.

“This should’ve been done years ago,” said Bob Burgis, project manager.

“This undertaking has felt like when you pull a single thread from a sweater and everything begins to unravel. This first phase will take care of the bones of the building.”

TrueLine Contracting Ltd., Timberhawk Homebuilders and Belton Brothers Structural Movers will raise the building four and a half feet to allow excavating, laying a foundation and adding drainage.

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The Metchosin Schoolhouse opened in the spring of 1872 and is the first school building opened in the province after confederation.

The school closed in 1914, reopened in 1942, and closed its doors again in 1949. It reopened 23 years later in March 1972 as a museum, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the building.

The building received its heritage status in 1997.

“There’s a strong sense of history here,” said Pat Holloway, president of Metchosin Museum Society. “We’re hoping the work that’s done here will help the building last for the next 100 years for another generation to enjoy.”

Work on the project is made possible by a grant from Heritage BC and an endowment from Eric Clay, a Metchosin man who left a donation to help with refurbishment of the building. But Burgis says the combination of funds will only cover around half of the project.

Once the foundation is intact, volunteers are hoping to add flooring, electrical, insulation, and replace unrecoverable siding to the building.

The group is open to volunteers and donations by contacting Burgis at 250-881-8280 or bburgis@telus.net.


 

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