Victoria High School (hey.yyj/Instagram)

Exactly a year after the Greater Victoria School Board voted to upgrade the historic Victoria High School building, the provincial government has announced approval for funding.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Education, the province will be investing $77.1 million for seismic upgrades and a 200-seat expansion of Vic High.

The upgrade will also include a new neighbourhood learning centre for child care programs.

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To meet the costs of the project, the Greater Victoria School District will also be contributing $2.6 million.

“Our community has long been waiting for this project to move forward, and I’m excited to know it’s being done in the best way possible,” said Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.

“For over 100 years, Victoria High School has served families in our community. Today’s announcement of a safer school, more classrooms and new child care spaces will better support learners for decades to come.”

Construction on the upgrades and expansion at Vic High is expected to begin in August 2020. Students will be re-located to a renovated SJ Willis Education Centre while the project is underway.

The work is expected to be completed by September 2022.

Exterior elements, such as terracotta, granite and brick masonry, will be retained, along with interior features, including the marble and art glass in the main entrance and lobby, and the painted wood panels and art glass in auditorium/balcony.

“This investment is truly remarkable and I’m very thankful to the Province for stepping up and getting things done,” said Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria.

“The approach they’re taking shows they’ve really listened to the community. Safety is always the number 1 priority for students, but I know this heritage building is very special to the city and all the families who’ve had it as part of their lives.”

Located at 1260 Grant Street, Vic High opened on May 1, 1914, and currently has a capacity of 850 students.

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