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VIDEO: A look inside Vic High construction

School district expects to welcome students at the upgraded site in January 2024
An aerial view of Vic High as the $80-million seismic upgrade and 200-seat expansion continues. (Courtesy of SD61/YouTube)

After years of construction at the Victoria High School site, the community is getting an updated look inside Western Canada’s oldest secondary school as renovations continue.

As the 1914-built high school undergoes an almost $80-million seismic upgrade and 200-seat expansion, the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) released a video tour showing where construction is at. The school district estimates Vic High will welcome students next January.

The video shows where the school grounds are being prepped for features like new back-field bleachers, a new turf field, several parking lots and glass facades in some spots where the building is currently draped in orange tarps. The west-facing facade is now visible following brick and masonry work, while the school’s upper medallions have been replaced, for safety, with a locally made concrete molding lookalike of the former feature.

“On the other three sides, the scaffolding is still up but a lot of the work has been completed,” Gordon Wallace, the upgrade’s project manager, said in the video.

“The restoration has progressed, it’s probably about 80 per cent complete now.”

Old bleacher planks from one of the school’s gyms are being refurbished and will be used for seating in the new multi-purpose room, which is to be used by both the high school and the community.

A south corridor leading from the Grant Street main entrance to the second level will aim to be as close to the original 1914 hallway as possible, Wallace said. That will include marble stone features, Egg and Dart moldings and rebuilding the bulkheads.

Other heritage elements coming back include trim along exterior windows, restored railings and the reuse of glazed bricks that were salvaged from the walls of the former Roper gym. The school will also include a large First Nation carving, a full modern kitchen and an outdoor classroom on one roof section featuring planters that will be built by the school’s shop students.

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