Seismic upgrade to start this summer at Braefoot Elementary

Braefoot Elementary is the latest capital-region school set for a seismic upgrade, with construction scheduled to start this summer.

Education Minister Rob Fleming announced the plan Friday at the Harrop Road school.

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The project will cost $10.4 million and will revitalize a building that is considered to be at high-risk of significant damage in the event of a major earthquake.

As has been the case in a string of recent seismic projects in the Greater Victoria school district, students will be moved to the former Richmond Elementary for a year while their school is renovated.

The work schedule for Braefoot, which has a 335-student capacity, calls for a return from Richmond in September 2020.

Richmond was closed in 2004 due to falling enrollment, and has since been used regularly by schools whose buildings are undergoing seismic refits.

Buses will be provided for students who need them to get to Richmond during the 2019-20 school year.

Greater Victoria school board chairwoman Jordan Watters said safety is a top priority for the district.

“We want to provide the safest learning environments for our staff and students, and ensure that everyone feels safe when entering our schools,” she said in a statement.

“In a region that is susceptible to seismic activity, these kinds of projects are crucial for keeping our students and staff safe in a natural disaster.”

To date, 15 district schools have undergone seismic work. Provincially, 182 of 348 schools identified in the Seismic Mitigation Program have been refurbished or replaced, with 29 more in development or proceeding to the construction phase.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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