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

Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

Marijuana use by officers not allowed 24 hours before duty

Inside Victoria’s tent city: ‘I’m still human’

Campers share their experiences of homelessness, struggles to find housing

Two weekend crashes involved cars and houses

VicPD say alcohol is believed to a factor in both incidents

Afternoon collision launches vehicle through downtown Victoria business

Two female drivers and staff of CEV Victoria uninjured, but visibly shaken

Campers near Saanich municipal hall await response from transportation ministry

MOTI expected to decide Monday when campers need to leave

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

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Most Read