Courtenay secondary school in line for seismic upgrade

G.P. Vanier Secondary School is one of 14 more schools in B.C. slated for seismic upgrades.
The Province announced Friday the school will be part of the ongoing Seismic Mitigation Program, but the start date of the project and how much funding it will receive are unknown.
School District 71 will confirm the scope, schedule and budgets for these projects prior to final Ministry of Education approval of a formal project agreement.
School district secretary treasurer Russell Horswill said the district made a submission a couple of years ago listing Vanier as its No. 1 priority for a seismic upgrade.
"At that time it was put in as about a $13-million project," said Horswill. "Our understanding is that we will be hiring a structural engineer to complete a final seismic assessment of the entire building and then from that we'll fill out the scope of work and the final budget."
Horswill added government officials plan to come out to the school for a walkthrough, and he estimates this meeting should happen by the end of June. Then a structural engineer will be hired and the structural review work could happen over the summer months and possibly into the fall.
Principal Charlie Schellinck noted the school is built well, but it was built in 1968, and members of the Parent Advisory Council, student government and administration wrote letters to government asking for upgrades over the past few years.
"There is a lot that has to be done to this school," said Schellinck. "We're hoping, too, that during the seismic upgrade we can have some modifications done to the site for educational purposes as well."
According to a B.C. Liberal Government Caucus news release, Vanier was chosen as part of a revised list of 152 schools with at least one 'high-risk' building section to be addressed under the School Seismic Mitigation Program at an estimated total cost of $1.3 billion.
Over $790 million has been spent on seismic upgrades in 37 B.C. school districts since 2001. Thirty projects are working towards formal agreements and a 137 projects have been completed or are in the construction stages.
"G.P. Vanier is over 40 years old and the original structure is not up to modern seismic standards," Comox Valley MLA and past Vanier teacher Don McRae said in the release. "With these improvements, generations of Vanier students will be able to enjoy its well-known, high-quality programs."

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