B.C.’s oldest high school to get massive renovation in Victoria

Parents, teachers, and politicians packed into Victoria High School on Grant Street in Victoria, B.C., Thursday for a long-awaited announcement about its $77-million renovation. 

After years of aging infrastructure, the century-old school will be made seismically safe and expanded to make room for 200 more students.

“It is long overdue. The community deserves it,” B.C. Minister of Education Rob Fleming said at the podium. “It’s going to be a difficult project — one of the largest I think we’ve ever seen on Vancouver Island.”

Fleming said a neighbourhood learning centre will also be built on-site to provide more childcare spaces and programs for “young parents who can’t afford to go back to work.” 

B.C.’s Minister of Education says the seismic upgrades and expansion to Victoria High School are “long over-due.” (Adam van der Zwan/CBC)

Jordan Watters, chair of the Greater Victoria School District, said the funding announcement “brings a tear to the eye.”

“I truly know the Vic High community has been hoping for this for well over a decade.”

Upgrades respectful of heritage

She said she’s excited for the school to be upgraded in a way that maintains the heritage of the building constructed in 1914. 

According to a press release, the “exterior elements, such as terracotta, granite and brick masonry” along with the marble and art glass inside will all be retained. 

Watters said the added space for more students is especially important because the school has reached capacity.

The Greater Victoria School District will be contributing $2.6 million to the project.

Construction on the upgrades are expected to begin in August 2020 and should be finished by September 2022. 

Students will be relocated to the SJ Willis Education Centre until the upgrades are complete.

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