Seismic upgrade

Seismic Upgrade Moving Along                                                                      October 2021


Exterior photos are all we have at the moment, but if the masses of equipment and construction trailers and protected trees and construction crew in hard hats and porta-potties is any indication, the seismic upgrade work is definitely continuing inside Vic High these days.

Jim Soles, Associate Director Facilities, Capital Projects for School District 61 has been a key player in the planning for Vic High’s massive seismic upgrade, drawing on his experience with upgrades to other heritage schools and his creativity in suggesting ways to repurpose as many heritage elements as possible.

Jim is retiring, although we’re sure he’ll be at the school’s 2023 re-opening, but not before updating us on what’s going on inside Vic High right now.

  • Demolition is complete and everything is cleaned up inside the building
  • All trades contracts have been awarded and some rough-in of mechanical and other services has begun
  • Framing of new walls will begin within a couple of months and services’ rough-in will speed up

Girls Entrance, East side, facing Fernwood Street

The actual seismic upgrading of the building is the priority right now, continuing to reinforce the footings with shear walls and installing thousands of complicated drag struts. These connect the floors to the walls to help stabilize the building. Soles says the school was designed for vertical gravity loads, not horizontal loads or pressure like a seismic event. Drag struts connect and reinforce the whole building so each floor doesn’t move sideways in a different direction during an earthquake.

Fascinating stuff, right? More than you thought you’d ever know about seismic upgrading. But of course, it all makes sense.

Once walls are framed in and the new classrooms and open collaboration spaces are shaping up, a few of us will tour the jobsite again so we can take photos and share them with you like we did in our April newsletter. (We just have to remember where we put our steel-toed boots!)

Thanks, Jim, for caring about Vic High as much as we do. See you in 2023.

Southwest corner, Boys Entrance under the arch, facing the track

The 2011 Fairey Tech addition included an east entrance into its concourse, now being extended to accommodate a new Vic High Library and Neighbourhood Learning Centre.