Victoria High School reopens after 4-year renovation, seismic upgrades


On Friday, for the first time in almost four years, students once again filled the halls of Victoria High School.

“It’s our orientation day so we’re mostly just touring the school,” said Briar Gotro, a Grade 12 student at Victoria High School.

The renovation added capacity for 200 more students up from 800. It was budgeted for $80 million and students were supposed to return in February.

The school has been seismically upgraded and comes with a new neighborhood learning center and a turf playing field.

“There’s still a lot of history in it,” said Yoshiko Oike, Grade 12 student at Victoria High School. “They were able to revamp it and also keep so much of the old history and cool parts of the school.”

While Victoria High School was under its renovation students attended classes at SJ Willis. Classes at Victoria High School will officially start on Monday.

“This is the oldest continuously functioning high school west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco,” said Victoria Coun. Jeremy Caradonna.

Caradonna lives in the Fernwood neighborhood, just down the street from the high school.

“What it means is that there’s life back in the square and life back in the streets,” said Caradonna. “For the last four years it’s felt a little bit like a ghost town around here.”

Businesses couldn’t be happier to see the students returning to the Fernwood neighbourhood.

“We’re making 125 pizzas, which equals 1,000 slices for the kids at Vic High,” said Miroslaw Gwiazda, a cook at the Fernwood Pizza Company.

The Fernwood Pizza Company was closed for walk-in business on Friday afternoon in order to focus on lunch for the students.

“Business will definitely pick up,” said Rachelle Anderson, an employee at the Vegas Convenience Store.

Anderson says having the students back has created a buzz in the square and he calls the students his extended family.

“It’s great to see this square filled up again because it hasn’t been for a long time,” said Anderson. “I definitely missed them.”

Victoria High School is two years shy of celebrating its 150th anniversary, and with its new renovation it will have a lot more years left.

“It’s 148 years old so it was definitely worth keeping all the history,” said Oike.