Plans for Cowichan Secondary Seismic Project Proceeding


The following news release was issued during the public meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Planning for Cowichan Secondary Seismic Project Proceeding

COWICHAN VALLEY, BC – After years of the Board of Education identifying the replacement of Cowichan Secondary School as its number one capital priority, the Cowichan Valley School District has been given the green light to proceed to the next phase of project planning as the Ministry confirmed the school is being supported under their Seismic Mitigation Program.

“This is a very significant step forward for the Cowichan Secondary School project, and we are excited by the news that the project is receiving support from the Ministry,” said Candace Spilsbury, Chair of the Board of Education. “Our community definitely wants a new school that better meets the needs of our students, and while we still have a way to go we are excited that we can move forward to the next phase.”

The next phase of the project is to develop what is called a Project Definition Report (PDR), which is a detailed assessment of need, options, costs, benefits, design, and many other details. The PDR will explore three options for Cowichan Secondary:

  • seismic upgrade only;
  • seismic upgrade and partial replacement; or
  • replacement with a new school.

The PDR is to be developed and submitted by October 25, 2018. Once submitted, the Ministry will confirm which option they support and will request the funding from government. Once approved, a Capital Funding Agreement will be signed with the district. It is anticipated that the school district will find out either late this year, or in early 2019, which option will be supported.

“We continue to strongly advocate for a new Grade 8-12 school that will provide the kind of environment more suited to modern, innovative learning,” said Rod Allen, Superintendent. “There is a significant opportunity here to build a new school that closely connects our students with our local post-secondary partner, which will only help our students succeed in their chosen career or life path.”

Cowichan Secondary, the largest secondary school in the district, was built in 1949. It is estimated that the school would require more than $27M in repairs to bring it to current seismic safety requirements.

Since 2004, the district has been working with local institutions and government agencies towards “Cowichan Place”. In 2008, land was purchased by the district and funded by the Ministry—today, it continues to remain vacant, waiting for a new school. A new Cowichan Secondary is the final piece needed to complete the Cowichan Place vision.

The school district has previously examined several options for upgrading or replacing the school, and has developed a strong business case demonstrating that a new 1,500 capacity secondary school on the Cowichan Place site is the best option for students and for the community.


View a PDF version of this news release.

Media Contact:

Katie McLaughlin
Communications Specialist
Cowichan Valley School District (SD #79)
Phone: 250-748-0321 ext. 308