The Greater Victoria School District board has approved a land exchange and lease to help fund seismic upgrades at Victoria High School.
To come up with their share of the funding, the school district will lease out 2.15 acres of surplus land to the Capital Regional Housing Corporation for an affordable housing project.
This lease will be signed for 60 years, earning the school district between $4.1 – $4.5 million, allowing them to pay for the seismic upgrade shortfall of $2.6 million and amenity enhancements at Victoria High.
“The community and the Board agreed that retaining heritage values was a key part of the Victoria High Seismic Upgrade Project, however, by choosing the most expensive option, it left us with a shortfall,” said Board Chair Jordan Watters in a statement on Tuesday.
“We came up with an innovative solution with our partners that allows us to pay for our share of the upgrade, increase capacity for 200 more students, and add additional amenities. It also benefits the community by allowing our partners to build much-needed affordable housing.”
While this arrangement was approved by the school board on Monday night, it is still subject to concluding negotiation and requires a green light from the Ministry of Education and City of Victoria zoning approval.
Earlier this year, the provincial government announced an investment of $77.1 million to fund these upgrades and a 200-seat expansion at Vic High, bringing the school’s total enrolment capacity to 1,000.
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.
Construction on the upgrades and expansion at the high school 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.