Board votes to preserve historic Vic High, but it'll come at a cost
The oldest public high school in western Canada won't meet the wrecking ball after school trustees voted to save the historic site Monday night.
Vic High, a 114-year-old school in Victoria's Fernwood neighbourhood, will be seismically upgraded following an extensive public consultation process that saw former students, parents and local residents give their feedback.
Knocking down the aging structure and building a new school would have been the most cost-effective option.
The district is instead looking at two upgrade options that could cost between $70-million to $110-million.
"One is seismic plus the amenities, and then the other is seismic plus adding extra capacity so we have room to accommodate all the students we're expecting at Vic High," said trustee Jordan Watters.
It's nearly double what other impressive new schools on the West Shore cost, such as Royal Bay at a price tag of $41-million and Belmont at $56-million, but the board said it's acting on the wishes of alumni and the community.
Ian McKinnon of the Vic High Alumni Association said his group was "surprised and pleased" at the board's decision to conserve the school.
"We had gone through a lot of effort and narrowed down, from our own viewpoint, two very similar options," he said. "It's worth it because it's such an important school. Looking at the school itself, the first public high school in western Canada."
The board will now have to convince B.C.'s education minister to sign off on the seismic upgrade project.
A final project plan and cost is expected to be delivered to the minister's desk in June, where it will either be approved or denied and sent back to the board with a smaller budget.