After the announcement, Fleming read B.J. Novak’s children’s book “The Book With No Pictures” to students. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Keating Elementary to get seismic upgrades, 4 new classrooms

Construction on $7.92 million project to begin in July

Keating Elementary will get four new classrooms and seismic upgrades worth $7.92 million.

According to a press release, the original Keating Elementary School was a one-room schoolhouse built in the early 1960s with renovations in 1965, 1969, 1992 and 2010. One part of the school does not meet seismic building requirements and will be upgraded.

There are currently 411 students at Keating, with over 70 per cent of them in French immersion. The new classrooms will give Keating 100 more student spaces.

Speaking from the Keating Elementary school library, Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Education, reiterated that the region is in an earthquake zone, and that is why the government is “urgently working as fast as we can with our educational partners to make seismic safety announcements like the one we’re making today.”

The Minister said that with ever-changing building regulations, the Ministry will be more receptive to proposals for all-new schools rather than renovations to buildings that are “70, 80, 100 years old”

In addition to four classrooms and seismic upgrades, Keating Elementary will also get a new library learning commons and another set of washrooms. The Saanich School District contributed $343,000 for this upgrade.

Chuck Morris, director of facilities for School District 63 (Saanich), said that there was still much work to do, including drawings for the seismic upgrades and addition.

“Now our consultants step up to the plate, we start meeting and getting this thing all put together so we can advance it as quickly as we can.”

While he expected bids from construction companies on southern Vancouver Island, Fleming said other areas like Surrey with aggressive homebuilding activity would require the Ministry to bundle several projects together to make a bigger project that could generate more interest from industry.

Construction is set to begin in July, with completion set for March 2020.

The Children’s Development Centre in Cordova Bay will be the last school in SD63 to receive seismic upgrades.

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