By Lisa Kopochinski
UCLUELET, British Columbia — Construction continues on a new $44.8 million seismic school project on Vancouver Island that will improve student safety.
Crews are working on Ucluelet Elementary, a partial replacement of Ucluelet Secondary and a new Neighborhood Learning Center. With both schools located on the same site, construction is being coordinated so students can attend school while work is being done.
The project is estimated to result in more than 450 seismically safe student seats in the community.
“B.C. families want to know their children will be protected if an earthquake should occur,” said British Columbia Minister of Education Rob Fleming in a statement.
“From the start, our government has made seismic safety a priority. We’re working together with districts across the province to ensure every student can learn in a seismically safe school as fast as possible.”
The new Neighborhood Learning Center will be used for childcare programming, thereby increasing the amount of childcare spaces for Ucluelet.
Ucluelet Secondary School serves students from Ucluelet and Tofino. Four of five of the school’s blocks will be replaced, including classrooms, administration, the library and music room. These sections were built between 1947 and 1981. The gym and trades block, built in 1973, will have their seismic performance improved.
Seismic upgrades at Ucluelet Elementary School also include a new elevator to improve accessibility, as well as structural upgrades.
Unitech Construction Management is the general contractor on this project, which is slated for completion by spring 2022. Patrick May of M3 Architecture Inc. developed the West Coast themed design concept for the school.