After over a decade of waiting, thousands of Cowichan students can look forward to a new, seismically safe Cowichan Secondary school that will benefit the community for generations.
“Every student deserves to learn in a quality school that will protect them in an earthquake,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Cowichan Valley families have had to live with the fact that their school was deemed unsafe 15 years ago. That’s why our government has acted quickly to provide Cowichan Valley students with a new facility that fits 21st-century learning in a seismically safe environment.”
The Government of B.C. is providing $79.9 million to replace Cowichan Secondary as part of the Province’s Seismic Mitigation Program. The Cowichan Valley School District is providing $2.2 million.
“After many years of advocating by our community for a new Cowichan Secondary school, I’m thrilled that a new modern school for our students is finally on the way,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The school district, Cowichan Tribes, local governments, Vancouver Island University, parents and students created a vision for a school that will benefit families in our community for decades to come.”
The new, seismically safe school will have capacity for 1,100 students, eliminating the need for portables. It will include a new sports field and neighbourhood learning centre, and will be built on the Cowichan Place property next to Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan campus. The new school is expected to be ready for students in September 2023.
“It’s exciting to know that secondary school students in our community will soon have the modern school that they deserve, which will also include additional space for community programs like child care,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “Our government is making the investments needed to meet the needs of our growing community, and I couldn’t be happier.”
The new neighbourhood learning centre will be used for community programming, such as child care, to further benefit people in the Cowichan Valley.
“The board of education is thrilled that the Cowichan Valley is getting a new secondary school,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair, board of education for the Cowichan Valley School District. “We have been working toward this day for a long time with our community partners, and we are so excited for what this announcement means to our learners, our staff and our community. We envision this new school as an anchor within our community, and we are grateful to the Ministry of Education for helping make this vision a reality.”
This investment will be the first major school construction project in the Cowichan Valley since 2010. It is part of the Province’s work to accelerate the Seismic Mitigation Program so every student can learn in a safe school as soon as possible.
Since September 2017, the Province has announced over $1.7 billion in school capital investments, including almost $900 million for seismic upgrades and replacements. This will give 24,200 students at 40 schools a safer place to learn.
To continue this momentum, Budget 2019 includes a record $2.7 billion over three years for school capital investments, which includes $791 million for seismic safety improvements at B.C. schools.
Caroline Kirman, chair, Cowichan Secondary Parent Advisory Council –
“Parents around the Cowichan Valley will be thrilled about this announcement. A new Cowichan Secondary means new, exceptional learning spaces for our children. These new spaces will help them find success in the world. We are so excited for our children to see this project go forward.”
Eilís Young, future graduate, class of 2024, Cowichan Secondary –
“I’m overjoyed that my classmates and I get to be part of the first graduating class in the new Cowichan Secondary. This new and seismically safe school will serve our community for many years and generations. I hope all the kids of my generation will appreciate the thought that has gone into the design of the new school, which includes new learning spaces for us and a brand new, environmentally sound build.”
Robyn Gray, superintendent, Cowichan Valley School District –
“Our district is extremely happy to hear that we will be the recipient of a new building and a new location for Cowichan Secondary school. This new school will honour our learners by creating amazing and authentic learning environments that will prepare them for a world they will create. My sincere thank you goes out to the Ministry of Education and all of our dedicated district staff who worked so hard to see this come to fruition.”
- Cowichan Secondary was built in 1950 and had several additions until 1998.
- The school has been identified in the Seismic Mitigation Program since 2004.
- The Cowichan Valley School District purchased the Cowichan Place property, a 5.3-hectare site, in 2012.
- Students will remain in their existing facility until the new school is complete.
- The existing facility will be retained and used as temporary space for students during future seismic upgrade projects in the district.