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Safe schools on the way for students on west coast of Vancouver Island

Seismic upgrades at Ucluelet Elementary school and a partial replacement of Ucluelet Secondary school will give west coast students better and safer schools for decades to come.

“Schools need to meet modern engineering standards in order to be safe in the event of a major earthquake, especially for students on the seismically active west coast of Vancouver Island,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Our government is delivering results for families on the west coast, so they can have the comfort of knowing both Ucluelet schools will be safe if an earthquake were to hit.”

The Government of British Columbia is providing $44.8 million to partially replace and upgrade Ucluelet Secondary and for seismic upgrades at Ucluelet Elementary. This project will include adding a Neighbourhood Learning Centre at the secondary school that will be used for child care programming to better support young families in Ucluelet.

“The community has been waiting for years for seismically safer schools, and I’m excited to see it happen for students and families,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “Both schools are vitally important to the west coast, and it’s great to know that they will be improved for the benefit of our students in Ucluelet and Tofino.”

The partial replacement at Ucluelet Secondary will include a new classroom block with space for 250 students, a new music room, library and administration block. This will allow for a design that reflects local values and B.C.’s new curriculum. There will also be seismic upgrades to the rest of the school, which include the gymnasium and trades block. These upgrades are expected to be complete by September 2021.

Ucluelet Elementary will undergo a complete seismic upgrade, which is expected to be complete by September 2022. During construction, elementary students will use available space at the secondary school to ensure work can be completed with minimal disruption to learning.

“The Board of Education for School District 70 is very pleased that the Ministry of Education has announced the seismic upgrade to Ucluelet Elementary and the partial re-build at Ucluelet Secondary,” said Pam Craig, chair, Alberni Board of Education. “The announcement will provide significant improvements to SD70 school facilities in Ucluelet. The board is ready to get to work as soon as possible.”

Government is committed to giving every B.C. student a seismically safe place to go to school. Budget 2019 includes an additional $250 million to accelerate the Seismic Mitigation Program, for a total of $791 million over three years.

The Government of B.C. has approved more than $1.2 billion in school capital projects since September 2017. These include nearly 7,700 new student spaces at new and expanded schools, over 20,100 seismically safe seats at 33 schools and seven land purchases for future schools throughout B.C.

Quick Facts:

  • Ucluelet Elementary and Ucluelet Secondary schools are located on the same site in Ucluelet.
  • Ucluelet Secondary hosts students from both Ucluelet and Tofino.
  • The nearest elementary school is 40 kilometres away in Tofino and the nearest secondary school is 100 kilometres away in Port Alberni.
  • This project will bring nearly 500 safe student seats to B.C.
  • The new Neighbourhood Learning Centre will add about 25 new child care spaces to the community.

Learn More:

For more information about the Seismic Mitigation Program, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/seismic-mitigation

For more information about major school capital projects in B.C., visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/major-capital-projects

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