The provincial government recently completed seismic upgrades to Keating Elementary, but could not give updates on upgrades to other schools in the area. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Central Saanich’s Keating Elementary completes seismic upgrades

Sidney Elementary and North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary still waiting for seismic upgrades

Earlier this month the provincial government completed seismic upgrades to a Saanich Peninsula school, but could not offer a definitive date on future upgrades for other area schools.

Rob Fleming, the provincial minister of education, said in an interview with the Peninsula News Review, that 40 seismic upgrade projects creating 25,000 seismically safe seats are currently under development. “In our region, we have five projects currently under construction or having been recently completed in the case of Keating [Elementary] School,” he said.

A report lists seven schools in School District 63 as completed projects under the provincial government’s seismic mitigation program. Keating Elementary joined Claremont Secondary, Lochside Elementary, Prospect Lake Elementary, North Saanich Middle School, Parkland Secondary and Stelly’s Secondary on that list during the second week of January. Seven schools — Brentwood Elementary, Cordova Bay Elementary, Deep Cove Elementary, Keating Elementary Annex, Saanichton Learning Centre, Sidney Elementary, and the South Island Distance Education School (SIDES) — appear as future priorities.

RELATED: 4.8 earthquake shakes Vancouver Island’s west coast

RELATED: Magnitude 4.8 earthquake reported off coast of northern Vancouver Island

When asked for additional details, Fleming could not say which of those schools would undergo upgrades next, or whether said schools would only require upgrades to their existing buildings or undergo complete replacement, as it has been the case in a number of Vancouver Island schools.

Fleming said the question of which school would undergo what sort of upgrades depends on the number of factors. They include an internal ministry ranking of schools in need of upgrades as well as input from the local school district. A key step in deciding which school undergoes which kind of improvements is the development of a business case plan that considers all necessary technical and engineering aspects, he said.

A spokesperson for the ministry said later in a statement that the district had submitted upgrades to KeatingElementary as well as the Children’s Development Centre as building priorities.

“With Keating’s upgrades completed, and the Children’s Development Centre [in Saanich’s Cordova Bay neighbourhood] being replaced, we can now work with the district on more projects,” it reads. The statement adds that the ministry considers each of the listed schools “future priorities” with the ministry relying on local school districts to prioritize capital projects for ministry funding.

“Ministry staff are currently reviewing capital plans from all 60 school districts ahead of budget 2020, and districts will learn of which projects are supported in the spring,” it reads.

Looking at the big picture, Fleming said two-and-a-half years into its mandate, the current government has hit the milestone of having approved $900 million for seismic upgrades or capital replacement projects. Fleming said the government has approved 14 projects on Vancouver Island alone during the first two years.

“That’s a pace that is three times faster than the old government,” he noted. “So we are starting to build momentum and work with districts like Saanich to get more and more projects planned, approved and under construction.”

Since September 2017, the provincial government has announced more than $1.7 billion in school capital funding, including nearly $900 million for seismic upgrades or replacement. Last year’s budget included $2.7 billion for school capital investments, including $791 million for seismic upgrades at high-risk schools across B.C.

Fleming also said that the government continuously incorporates the latest research from seismic events into its own planning and construction.

Fleming had said earlier that the upgrades to Keating Elementary also added 100 new spaces to the school.

“We sort of celebrated a milestone last week with the completion of Keating Elementary, which was not just an opportunity to make that school safe in the event of an earthquake, but also to meet some of the enrolment expansion and growth that we are seeing in the district,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay, Esquimalt firefighters headed up the big climb Sunday

Oak Bay firefighter joins former Esquimalt assistant chief for 48-storey stair climb

Kids learn the ropes of business with free UVic entreprenuership training

The second annual Kidovate program is now open for registration

Island teen climber seizes last opportunity to qualify in 2020 Olympic games

Brennan Doyle, 16, heads to L.A. for Pan American Climbing Championships

University of Victoria profs take home prestigious national teaching award

Brent Mainprize and Edōsdi–Judy Thompson recognized as a 2020 3M National Teaching Fellows

PHOTOS: BC Children’s lottery offers luxury downtown Victoria home as a prize

The Choices Lotto has luxury homes across the province

VIDEO: Alleged shoplifter caught on camera at Sidney boutique

Staff at Cameron Rose Gifts seek the public’s help locating woman

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Most Read