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Cedar Hill students and staff leave a permanent mark on new school

Construction of the new $53.5-million school began in November. It’s expected to open its doors in September 2025.

Students and staff left a personal mark on the new Cedar Hill Middle School on Monday, signing their names on a steel beam before it was lifted into place.

The new school is being built in front of the existing school, where classes will be held until construction is complete. The old school, which is 92 years old and seismically dated, will then be torn down.

Students who are in Grade 6 are the only ones in the school right now who will still be in middle school when the new building is expected to open its doors in September 2025.

“They’ll be the first cohort that is going to be in the new school in Grade 8,” said principal Maryanne Trofimuk.

Trofimuk said she got the idea for the beam-signing from a similar event at the construction site of Cowichan District Hospital.

“What you are doing here is you are taking an indelible marker and you are permanently etching your name on this amazing beam,” she told the students.

The beam, hoisted into its permanent spot on the new school’s steel superstructure about 11 a.m. Monday by Yellowridge Construction, will “forever be a permanent fixture in this school,” Trofimuk said.

Grade 6 student Walter Krzymowski said, “It’s cool that we all get our names signed and engraved in the new school.”

Zailey Airaksinan, another Grade 6 student, also liked the idea.

“Our names will still be on it until the next time there’s a new school,” she said. “It’s going to be in a very long time.”

The construction site right in front of the school is interesting to keep an eye on, Zailey said. “You can watch if every day — there’s always something different being done.”

Construction of the new $53.5-million school began in November.

Some areas of the building have an H-1 seismic rating, which is the highest level of vulnerability to an earthquake.

About 560 students are expected to attend the school in September, while the new structure will have space for 575 students.

The current school building was the original Mount Douglas Secondary School from 1931-1970, then served as Cedar Hill Junior High before becoming a middle school in 2004.

Trofimuk said planning for the celebration marking the move to the new school is about to start. “We’re meeting with the Mount Doug Alumni Association.”

Of the many features coming at the new school — which is being billed as the “greenest” school in the Greater Victoria School District — the Indigenous gathering space is one of Trofimuk’s favourites.

“It’s going to be overlooking all of the outside natural space,” she said.

She said it will be used both by the school and the wider community.

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