Heavy doses of respectful thank-yous and a ribbon cutting officially opened Oak Bay High last week.
The new Oak Bay High School opened its doors to the first cohort of students on Sept. 8. Construction of the provincially-funded $51.6 million Oak Bay High began on July 5, 2013.
The school, built to LEED Gold Standard, has a student capacity of 1,300, allowing for anticipated future enrolment growth. The new building is 17,700 square metres in addition to a Neighbourhood Learning Centre of 1,766 square metres.
“Hopefully as students and as staff you look around and can feel proud of what we have here,” said BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier during the ceremony.
“When I look around at the school you have to work in, to learn in and to be educated in, this is state-of-the-art. This is absolutely amazing what we’ve accomplished here as a group.”
Bernier noted modern planning such as the moveable walls that enable adaptable programming and instruction as an examples of buildings changing as students’ needs do.
Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen thanked the community that, through council, invested $1 million in the 420-seat community performing arts theatre with orchestra area and rehearsal space.
“We created, along with the school board, a community asset beyond compare,” Jensen said.
Victoria School District Trustee Deborah Nohr looked to the future, thanking the Community Association of Oak Bay for “incredible dedication” conceiving and funding the welcome pole anticipated to stand at the front of the building later this fall.
“As we walk toward the new Oak Bay High school we will approach the magnificent Sno’uyutth pole, Sno’uyutth meaning ‘spreading good energy.’ What better thought can all of us have to start the day?” she said.
“When I see you, the students in the audience, I see a future full of hope and opportunity. You, the youth of today, are an inspiration to me. Your passion is infectious. Your innovation and creativity fills me with hope. Your desire to make the world a better place through your community leadership is profoundly appreciated. Thank you for all you have done and all that you will continue to do for the betterment of the world around us,” said Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver, also one of four alumni who passed on four pillars to Grade 11 students last spring.
“There is so much to be proud of at Oak Bay secondary. Collectively you have excelled in all your Pillars of Excellence: academics, athletics, fine arts and community leadership and philanthropy,” Weaver said.
Four students – Ruby Tang, Matti Grant, Veronique Beaudet and Robert Lee – officially ushered that ethos into the new school, symbolically transferring the pillars from the old building to the new.
The school celebrated
partnerships such as the one with Bays United to create the new soccer pitch with artificial turf.
Principal Dave Thomson, who played host for the ceremony, handed out awards to show appreciation to Dick and Linda Auchinleck, Bays United Football Club, the Bigsby family, Community Association of Oak Bay, Farmer Construction, HCMA Architecture + Design, Kiwanis Club of Oak Bay, Oak Bay Rotary Club, Ryan Vending and the Telus Victoria Community board.