Education Minister Rob Fleming was at Lake Trail Tuesday to announce seismic upgrades at the Courtenay middle school. Scott Stanfield photo

Education Minister Rob Fleming was at Lake Trail Tuesday to announce seismic upgrades at the Courtenay middle school. Scott Stanfield photo

Lake Trail to be seismically upgraded

The project is a partial replacement that will ensure the entire school will be seismically safer

Lake Trail Middle School will be receiving seismic upgrading next year, the provincial government has announced.

The project will be a partial replacement to ensure the entire school is safer in the event of an earthquake.

Lake Trail was built in the 1950s, with additions in 1964 and 1999. Reports indicate everything but the gymnasium is at risk of damage after an earthquake.

“This school is a vital part of the community, but at least three-quarters of this school is unsafe,” Education Minister Rob Fleming said Tuesday at an announcement at the Courtenay school. “In the event of a high-risk earthquake, there is every chance there could be a building failure at Lake Trail.”

The ministry is providing up to $26.2 million towards the project, and the Comox Valley board of education $1 million.

“I have heard first-hand from parents and educators in our community that this is a top priority,” Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox, said in a news release.

The partial replacement is expected to start in March and be completed in summer 2021.

School operations will continue as usual during construction.

Except for the gym, the existing school will be demolished upon completion.

The project will include a new standalone child care facility valued at $1.5 million, which will provide up to 60 child care spaces.

“That will be part of the feature of the new Lake Trail,” Fleming said.

Since September, government has approved more than $256 million in capital funding to upgrade or replace 17 seismic high-risk schools in B.C.