Victoria High School is scheduled for upgrades next year and the public is being asked to weigh in.
The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) is asking the public to help determine what amenities and enhancements to include in the upcoming seismic upgrades slated for the historic school in the coming years.
During upgrades, set to begin in August 2020, the school will receive further enhancements or new amenities – made possible with funds from a newly approved land exchange with the City of Victoria and a 60-year-lease with the Capital Regional Housing Corporation.
Thanks to the new deals, the District has $1.5 to $1.9 million to use for additional improvements. SD61 is asking for the public’s opinion on what they want to see in the improved Vic High but says it will “prioritize and identify what is considered a ‘should have’ versus a ‘nice to have’ when moving forward with the allotted funding.
“Given this is one of the most complex seismic upgrades in the province’s history, we want to ensure that we are moving in step with the community to build a school that reflects its needs and desires,” says a statement from school board chair Jordan Watters. “Victoria High has always been a community hub, and the board of education believes this is an opportunity to develop a stronger connection between the school and neighbourhood. It is important we get this right as we expect Victoria High will stand for another 100 years.”
Survey questions surround items such as the school’s track and field, stadium, gymnasium spaces, improvements to P.E. and health classrooms, and more.
The survey also asks about the addition of an astronomy observation deck to supplement the school’s elective astronomy course, an option brought forward by students in 2018. The online survey is available at surveymonkey.com/r/VicHigh_Amenities.
In June, the B.C. Ministry of Education approved $77.1 million in funding to support the school’s seismic upgrades, which will include structural engineering and upgrades to wiring and mechanical, plumbing and heating systems, as well as additional space added for the school’s growing enrolment, the creation of a “neighbourhood learning centre” and modernizing of spaces in order to “meet current and future learning needs.”
The school’s interior features, such as the marble and art glass and painted wood panels, will be preserved and exterior elements such as the building’s terracotta, granite and brick masonry will also be restored.