The only thing shakin', rockin' or swingin' at Wellington Secondary will hopefully be the upbeat tunes coming from its distinguished jazz academy, following a $22.6-million seismic upgrade of the aging Nanaimo-area high school.
Education Minister Don McRae and local school board officials put pen to paper on the project agreement today at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre during "Success for All Day" - a professional development day for all staff members from the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district.
Wellington Secondary school consists of six blocks or sections; one central block that houses the school library and five outer blocks that house classrooms, shops, a gymnasium and administrative spaces.
Five of the blocks are deemed high-risk and require seismic upgrading, including the complete demolition and replacement of one classroom block. The roof over the central block will be replaced as well with a lightweight alternative. The seismic project is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2016.
Wellington Secondary was built in several phases from 1967 to 1997, with a subsequent addition constructed a few years later. It has capacity for 900 Grade 8 to 12 students and is home to one of the premier jazz academies in western Canada. Each year, students from the academy compete in local and international music competitions including the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, the Canadian National Music Competition and the Surrey Music Festival.
Education Minister Don McRae -
"The catastrophic results from earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand have reiterated the importance of preparing for similar events here in B.C. Nothing is more important than the safety of students in this province, and this seismic upgrade project will provide current and future generations of students with secure buildings in which to work and study."
Jamie Brennan, board chair for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district (SD 68) -
"The approval of the Wellington Secondary seismic project is the result of great collaboration and a lot of hard work between school district staff and Ministry of Education staff. Making sure our students, teachers and administrators are safe is a priority for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district. This seismic upgrade is going to allow some of our district's best and brightest to continue to thrive in a sound learning environment, and we look forward to continuing to work with the ministry as the project progresses."
- Since 2001, the government of B.C. has invested more than $13.1 million in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district for the new Cinnabar Elementary and additions to Ladysmith Secondary, Coal Tyee Elementary and Wellington Secondary.
- The government has also provided $750,000 in classroom conversions for Full Day Kindergarten.
- Since 2001, the government has spent more than $2.4 billion to complete capital projects, including 96 new and replacement schools, 151 additions, 27 renovations and 25 site acquisitions throughout B.C. All new and replacement schools have been constructed to meet the latest seismic standards.
- Over the past year, the government has committed $353 million in funding for new school and school expansion projects and more than $122 million as part of its seismic mitigation program to provide structural upgrades at 14 high-priority schools.
- Since 2001, the government has spent more than $840 million on seismic upgrades of schools in 37 school districts.
- Since 2001, the government has committed more than $4 billion to school capital and maintenance projects throughout B.C.
Wellington Secondary school: http://wellington.mysd68.ca/
For more information on the Seismic Mitigation Program, visit http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/capitalplanning/seismic/
BC's Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education