schoolVictoria: The Greater Victoria school district (SD 61) showcased its commitment to seismic safety today at an event to highlight the recently updated Tillicum Elementary school.

Education Minister Mike Bernier toured the school with the district’s engineer team and three student ambassadors to see first hand the innovative construction techniques used to make the school safer.

Originally constructed in 1917, the majority of the school is wood-frame construction. Tillicum underwent four additions between 1919 and 1971. The school’s 1962 addition, a two-storey concrete classroom block, was identified as a High 1 retrofit priority risk.
Completed this summer, upgrades included adding a seismic steel beam support system for the roof, new concrete shearwalls, steel restraint beams to improve connectivity between shearwalls and ceiling, and bracing corridor columns with steel columns. The improvements totalled approximately $2.6 million including $1 million from the school district’s restricted capital.
The Greater Victoria board of education has been a leader working collaboratively with the Province to compete projects under British Columbia’s seismic upgrade program. The district has already completed 14 out of 24 projects, making effective use of “swing space” ─ such as Richmond elementary ─ to house students during upgrades at other schools, like Quadra elementary, Margaret Jenkins elementary, Willows elementary, George Jay elementary and Central middle school.

Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –
“I want to congratulate the Greater Victoria school district on completing yet another seismic project. The Victoria board have been provincial leaders in getting students into safer, modernized facilities. Students have called Tillicum Elementary home for almost a century and these modern safety improvements will make sure students continue learning in this heritage building for years to come.”

Edith Loring-Kuhanga, chair, Greater Victoria board of education –
“The Greater Victoria school district is happy to be working with the Ministry of Education on the seismic upgrading of our school buildings so our schools are healthy and safe places for our students to learn. Tillicum Elementary school is an essential facility in our district and we are very pleased that it has been made safer for our students, staff, and the community. We are currently in the process of seismically upgrading Cloverdale Traditional school, and are in the planning stages for three other facilities within our district. We recognize the importance of this work and we look forward to continuing to work cooperatively and collaboratively with the Ministry of Education to make all of our schools within our district safe.”