FAQ – Victoria High

Frequently asked questions regarding the future of Victoria High

Victoria High School, March 2018

What is the seismic risk to Vic High?

The high school has an H-1 seismic rating, the highest level of priority need. The Ministry of Education defines an H-1 rating as:

“The most vulnerable structure, at highest risk of widespread damage or structural failure; not repairable after an event. Structural and non-structural seismic upgrades required.”

What other schools require seismic upgrading?

We anticipate new seismic requirements will increase the number of schools that require seismic upgrading. There were 27 schools in our District that were originally identified as being high risk. 17 have been seismically upgraded. 10 remain, including:

Victoria High, Campus View, Shoreline, Cedar Hill, Craigflower, Braefoot, Arbutus, Reynolds, Lambrick Park and Macaulay.

What is the range of options?

There are a number of options that may be considered:

  • Seismically upgrade existing building and upgrade building systems.
    • $40 million (+ Reserve) = $60-70 Million Range
  • Retain the existing exterior and rebuild the interior:
    • $74 million (+ Reserve) = $100-110 Million Range
  • Build a new school {with increased capacity for 200 more students}:
    • $47 million (+Reserve) = $50-60 Million Range

How many students attend Vic High? What is the projected enrolment in future?

There are currently 850 students that attend Vic High. In the next 10 years, there will be approximately 1,400 catchment students. The District will be undertaking a catchment review to rightsize catchment areas with the projected enrolment of schools.

What is the catchment area for the school?

When would the renovation or construction occur? How long will it take?

Once a decision is made, we estimate it will take one year of planning and two years of construction.

Where will students go to school during the construction period?

Students will be temporarily relocated to S.J. Willis during construction. All programs that are currently being operated out of S.J. Willis are being permanently transitioned to Burnside Education Centre on Jutland Road. The Burnside Education Centre is set to open its doors in December 2018.

Who makes the decision about which option to pursue?

The Board of Education will make the final decision about which option will be recommended to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education will review the proposal and business case and determine whether they approve funding.

When will the decision be made?

The Board of Education will consider the information in June 2018.

What is the public consultation process?

The School District is undertaking a public consultation process during March and April to provide an opportunity for the community and stakeholders to learn more about options and considerations and provide input on what is important to them when planning for the future of Vic High.

The consultation process includes broad awareness efforts, open houses, several stakeholder meetings and an online survey.  Students and Vic High staff have also been consulted.  All of the input will be shared with the Board of Education prior to making a decision.

How meaningful is public input? Where exactly is the whole design/costing process at the moment?

Public input is imperative to help inform the decision-making of the Board of Education. No decision has been made about the future of the building.  The District is seeking input from Vic High staff and students, Parents, Alumni, Nations, and the broad community. We have also met with Victoria City Council.

All information collected in our consultation process will be shared with the Board to help them make a final decision.

As the range of options varies quite significantly, the design and costing work will continue once the consultation process concludes.

Other than seismic upgrading, what are the urgent facility maintenance/operating challenges that need resolving? 

The heating and cooling system, including an original boiler require replacement.  The Building Code also triggers a number of improvements for fire safety, accessibility standards and electrical requirements, including a fire sprinkler system.  As part of a structural upgrade, the original exterior masonry would be retained and reinforced. There would also be new interior finishes and lighting.

The 1914 structure is listed on the City of Victoria’s Register of Heritage Properties.  However, the register does not indicate if it was listed voluntarily or if any changes to the structure require heritage review/approval.  Can you clarify this?

Victoria High School is on the City’s Heritage Register but it is not a Heritage Designated property.

Has consideration been given to retaining the 1914 portion and upgrading it accordingly, and replacing the entire 1950s portion?  

The seismic risk rankings apply to both portions of the building and we are required to upgrade the entire school to current standards.  There is a range of options that can be considered by the School District upon conclusion of the public consultation process.

What are the preliminary estimates based on? 

The cost estimates are considered Class C and Class D construction estimates prepared by a team of technical Consultants.  More work on specific options will be completed upon conclusion of the consultation process.

Projected high school enrolment over the next 10-20 years seems to far exceed current total high school capacity.  Other than the potential to increase capacity at Vic High, where else in the district are there realistic opportunities to increase high school capacity?

The School District will be starting a review of catchment boundaries in May 2018 to address increasing enrolment. This will include analyzing all secondary school catchment borders and student projections in specific regions.

Based on our current Facilities Plan, there is potential to increase high school capacity at a number of secondary schools. There are secondary schools with sufficient land available to build extensions, however, analysis and funding must be confirmed first.

Has SD 61 explored heritage sources of funding to support the option to retain the 1914 structure as part of the seismic upgrading? 

The School District has not explored heritage funding opportunities to date but would welcome any information available.

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