An open house will be held Tuesday evening by the Greater Victoria School District, inviting the public to share their thoughts about a possible disposition of property in order to support the seismic upgrading and enhancement of Victoria High School.
The open house will address the school’s seismic project and a proposal to exchange and lease unused excess land at the school to help cover the costs of upgrading the building, along with retaining heritage values.
Currently Victoria High has an H-1 seismic ranking, the highest level of priority. Early in 2018, the District went through an extensive consultation process with the community on potential options for the future of the school. Upon hearing from the community, the Board of Education decided to move forward with a ‘Seismic Plus Enhancements (1000) Plus NLC’ option and submitted its application to the Ministry of Education.
Estimated to cost $79.7 million, this seismic option includes upgrading the 1915 building to meet current seismic safety standards while retaining the exterior of the current building, along with building a two-storey addition on the east side of the school for increasing enrolment and a community Neighbourhood Learning Centre (NLC). The budget will also cover the costs to renovate S.J. Willis School to provide temporary accommodations for Victoria High students and other school populations displaced by future seismic upgrade projects.
In June the Ministry of Education announced it would contribute $77.1 million to seismically upgrade the school, increase capacity by 200 seats, include a Neighbourhood Learning Centre and preserve heritage elements. Now the Greater Victoria School District needs to contribute an additional $2.6 million for the completion of the project.
To fund the additional capital for the project, a land agreement between the City of Victoria, Capital Regional Housing Corporation (CRHC) and BC Housing is being considered. The agreement would see the City transfer two vacant city lots and two road closures, and BC Housing transfer one lot to the School District. The District would then consolidate the land into a parcel and lease it to the CRHC for 60 years.
In June, the District hosted an initial open house to receive preliminary input on a land exchange with the City of Victoria and BC Housing, and a lease with CRHC. It is now seeking additional and final input related to the potential land exchange and lease before making a final decision.
The open house will be held in the Roper Gymnasium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening.
For more information on the project visit sd61.bc.ca/news-events/community/vic-high-planning-for-the-future/.