Provincial funding provides new community amenities at upgraded Vic High

Provincial funding provides new community amenities at upgraded Vic High

What people are saying about upgrades to Vic High

Seismic Upgrades’ Update




Read about the Seismic Upgrades

Seismic Upgrade


Please fill out the survey posted by the Greater Victoria School District regarding the kinds of improvements YOU would like to see in our newly refurbished Vic High. The Fernwood building is scheduled to close in August 2020 for renovations and upgrades, and to re-open in 2022.

Click here to go directly to the survey. It takes about 5 minutes to complete. Please note this survey will close at 4 pm on January 10, 2020.

For your further info, here is the posting from the District’s website (December 12, 2019).


In the Spring of 2018, a public controversy raged over the future of the present Vic High building and options regarding its much-needed seismic upgrade. After a great deal of work by the School District, BC’s Ministry of Education, and the Alumni Association, this controversy was resolved with an announcement on June 27, 2019:

Click here for the press release from the Ministry of Education.
Click here for the Association’s response, given by longtime Board member Ian McKinnon (VHS 1966).
Click here for the story in the Times Colonist (June 27, 2019).
Click here for an interview – B.C.’s minister of education, Rob Fleming joined Ryan Price on CFAX to talk about the provincial government approving $77.1 million for a seismic upgrade and expansion for Victoria High School (June 27, 2019).

A year of planning is anticipated, followed at least a year of construction. While the Grant Street building is being renovated, Vic High students and programs will be housed at the newly renovated S.J. Willis Education Centre.


The seismic upgrade of Vic High had been on the horizon for several years when the School District, in March 2018, advised the Alumni Association that renovations were coming soon. The first response from the Association was given in a Message from the Chair, which was posted that month (see bottom of this page). In due course the Association presented a follow-up response presented to the School Board’s Operations Committee:

May 14, 2018    A Future for Vic High.   Alumni Association presentation

There was much public discussion in the intervening two months, and for two months afterward. In the end, the controversy demonstrated how much Vic High is valued by the community it serves, and the School Board chose to retain this iconic face of the Fernwood community.

June 26, 2018 School board backs $73M option to save Vic High exterior. TC article

Below are some other articles and letters that were part of this discussion:

July 7, 2018 Comment: Vic High decision shows stewardship.  TC  letter

May 29, 2018   Latest options don’t include demolishing Vic High.   TC article

May 24, 2018    Victoria High School, opened in 1914, has made the 2018 Top 10 Endangered Places List, as compiled by the National Trust for Canada  TC article

May 15, 2018    School board leaning toward renovating, rather than demolishing Vic High
                             TC article

May 10, 2018    It’s back to school board after fate of Vic High sparks flurry of feedback 
                            TC article

May 1, 2018      How about a little respect for historic Vic High?   FaceBook     

April 28, 2018    Vic High is in excellent shape  TC letter 

April 27, 2018    Vic High doesn’t need replacing  TC letter  

April 27, 2018    There’s a way  TC letter

April 26, 2018    Chicken Littles want seismic upgrades  TC letter

April 7, 2018     Hundreds attend open house on Vic High  TC article

April 6, 2018     Open houses will explore Vic High’s Future  TC article

April 1, 2018     Vic High debate needs a sensible fourth option – Stan Bartlett  TC article

March 25, 2018  VHS an essential part of our heritage  TC letter

On March 15, 2018, the Greater Victoria School District announced three options for the required seismic upgrading of Vic High’s 104-year-old building. Click here to read the Times Colonist report (March 16) and click here to read the next day’s editorial.

Below is a response from the Chair of the Vic High Alumni Association:


Dear Alumni,

On 15 March 2018, the Greater Victoria School District announced that it is considering three very different options for seismic upgrading of Vic High. Whichever option is chosen will have major effects on the school. At the same time as this announcement went public, two representatives of the Alumni Association — Ian McKinnon (Vice Chair) and Roger Skillings (Past Chair) — were meeting with Piet Langstraat, Superintendent for the District. The Association is pleased to have been invited to the table concurrent with the School District’s announcement to the media. 

Two documents included in the District’s announcement are posted here: click here to view the Long Term Facilities Plan and click here to read School Specific Information. For more general information you can click here to read the CBC News article posted the same day. We’ve also posted a news report and an editorial from the Times Colonist under Press Clippings (see Navigation panel at right).

Through our representatives, we were informed that the District would soon be initiating a consultation process regarding these options. Respecting the many diverse opinions that our members will have, the Association does not have sufficient lead time or an ability to form a consensus position to advocate on behalf of all Alumni. For these reasons we encourage interested Alumni to participate directly in the consultation process. There are open houses scheduled in the Vic High gym on Saturday April 7, 9 am to 12 noon, and Wednesday April 18, 5 to 7 pm. The District indicated that an online survey will be available in April for those who do not live in Victoria or who cannot attend either of the open houses. We will alert Alumni via email when the survey is available.

From their meeting with the District, our representatives are confident that the District is sincere in its commitment to meaningful consultation with all stakeholders. Your Association wants the final decision to be made in a way that respects and honours the important heritage of Vic High while ensuring that the best opportunities are afforded to students today and into the future. Your active participation will be important to achieving the best outcome. Remember your Vic High motto: No reward without effort!

Ken Gower, Chair
Vic High Alumni Association