The work to replace Oak Bay High school with a new facility designed to serve both students and the broader community is officially off and running, after the Ministry of Education and the Greater Victoria school district officially signed a project agreement today (March 8).
Though the province pledged to contribute $50.1 million to the project last November, it wasn’t until now that the funding received the final stamp of approval from the Treasury Board.
In addition to the provincial cash, the municipality has pledged $1 million toward the project for the current gym to be turned into a theatre for students and outside groups. The school district added $1.4 million to increase the new school’s capacity from 1,200 to 1,300 students.
“This is tremendous news,” Oak Bay principal Dave Thompson told the News. “Finally we can officially get at the actual business of getting a building built. The history of this goes back fully 18 years, so it’s been a long time coming.”
The new school will be designed to facilitate personalized learning for students while providing day care and other community programs at a new on-site Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
It will be designed to meet the latest seismic construction and LEED Gold or equivalent environmental standards.
The new Neighbourhood Learning Centre will host seniors’ programs and other activities under the management of Oak Bay Parks and Recreation.
“It will be an asset to our students and the public as well, where the whole community can come together under one roof,” Greater Victoria board of education chair Peg Orcherton said in a press release about the project. “The partnerships with the District of Oak Bay and Oak Bay Parks and Recreation will bring exciting future opportunities.”
With the agreement in place, the district can continue with construction plans. It is expected that SD 61 will request open bids this summer, award the project and start construction by spring 2013.