From newcomer to returnee, students were impressed during a morning session Tuesday in the new Oak Bay High School building on Cadboro Bay Road. About 1,300 students flooded the new school Tuesday morning, filling the 190,540-square-foot, $54.3 million state-of-the-art structure.
“It’s really nice. It’s big and really cool,” said Sofia Jeliazkov during the afternoon of Sept. 8. Friend Paris Pelan added that the theatre where the opening assembly offered the two Grade 9 students a first glimpse into Oak Bay High life was particularly nice. The 420-seat theatre features adjacent dance, vocal, band, fine art and media studios.
“A highlight though was meeting everyone,” Jeliazkov said.
An avid volleyball and basketball layer, returning student Nick Mickelberry, Grade 12, is a fan of the athletics spaces, particularly the competitive gym that features sprung floors, high ceilings and top media equipment to support school and local sport programs.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Mickelberry said. “I’ve been in a lot of gyms across the province and this is the nicest I’ve seen. It’s pretty impressive.”
The one large school replaces two old buildings and is built to LEED gold standards, minimizing environmental impact through construction and operation.
Wireless technology connects students and teachers to each other and the world, while superb technical and trades shops enable wood, metal, mechanical and electrical instruction and a ‘clean’ lab provides for electronics, 3D printing and robotics education. The Neighbourhood Learning Centre integrated into the school includes day and after school care, a teen centre and activity spaces.
Common areas such as the large social staircase and adjacent cafeteria with garage-door-like opening to the open air are among top features so far for Grade 12 student Jessica Izard.
“It’s pretty amazing. The spirit here is so incredible. It’s a pretty nice place,” she said, as the first half-day of school wrapped with a Tour de Rock fundraising barbecue under sunny skies behind the new building.
As a campaign leader for the Oak Bay High Cops4Cancer bid to send youth to Camp Goodtimes, Izard was on hand to welcome students and all of Oak Bay Nation – the term used by the school to encompass staff, students, business and community – that she describes as “family.”
“The school is our core and it branches out and touches parents and the community,” Izard explained.
The students raised $40,215 during last year’s C4C campaign, enough to send 26 youngsters to the camp for kids facing cancer.
“Our goal this year is to start some new traditions in a new school. We really want to invite the community, because we have such an amazing place to do that,” Izard said.
While the students continue to back the Canadian Cancer Society’s Tour de Rock fundraising bike ride, parents work toward finishing the outfitting of the school with a ‘Open the Doors’ fundraising campaign.
The province provided $51.6 million for construction, but to fully achieve the vision defined by the community, an additional $2.7 million was needed to finalize the community theatre, construct the year-round artificial turf field, install classroom technology packages and acquire flexible furnishings to optimize use of collaborative spaces.
Learn more about the campaign at oakbayhigh.com.