Cowichan Secondary Builder Announced



The new Cowichan Secondary School is one step closer to reality now that the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District has selected the builder for this long-awaited project.

Urban One Builders was chosen as the successful proponent in the design-build process after a thorough Request for Proposals competition. Construction on the new site is set to commence soon and will not only create a state-of-the-art school for Cowichan students, but the construction will be a substantial economic boost for the entire region.

“We are thrilled to welcome Urban One Builders to the Cowichan Valley. Their innovative and carefully crafted design for Cowichan Secondary School will be an architectural centerpiece of our district, and will serve our learners in exceptional ways for decades to come,” said Candace Spilsbury, Chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District.

“Students deserve to learn in safe, positive and inspiring learning environments that give them the best opportunities to succeed, and that’s exactly what this new school will provide to the Cowichan Valley,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “Every step forward this project takes is an opportunity to look ahead to the future facility and what it will mean to students, staff and families for generations to come.”

The new seismically safe Cowichan Secondary School will be a three-story building with several architectural features that will complement the surroundings and will honour the unceded Quw’utsun lands where it is situated. The grounds will offer beautiful outdoor learning spaces that pay homage to the past, while providing spaces that allow students to focus on creating their future.


“Cowichan Tribes was thrilled to be a part of the planning and design of the new Cowichan Secondary school, which will be built on our unceded territory.  The ability to incorporate Cowichan culture and heritage provides our Indigenous students a safe space that they can connect and relate to.  When our students enter the building, they see themselves and their culture and know this is a place that values them and their community.  We are excited to continue to be a partner on this project and we are so happy for all our Cowichan Valley students who will attend this beautiful, culturally rich new school.”- Suniimtunaat (Stephanie Atleo) – Acting Director of Education, Quw’utsun Syuw’entst Lelum.

The Board announced in May 2020 that an Indigenous Language and Culture Centre would be the cornerstone of the Neighbourhood Learning Centre that will also house Health and Wellness facilities, and a high-tech boardroom / meeting room.

The new building will be approximately 11,975 square metres and built for 1100 students, with the ability to expand to house 1500 students with the addition of new classrooms. It will include purpose-built learning communities with collaboration spaces and incorporate spaces for technology and innovation throughout.

The Government of B.C. is providing $83.8 million for the replacement of Cowichan Secondary School as part of the Province’s Seismic Mitigation Program, while the Cowichan Valley School District is providing $2.2 million.

Architectural Features of the new School

  • Incorporation of Cowichan culture, heritage, and design throughout to tie the school to the rich history of the Hwulmuhw Mustimuh (first peoples) and this unceded land
  • Break out work spaces to foster collaboration and creativity
  • Outdoor gathering spaces so learning can take place in a variety of places
  • Incredible natural lighting and views to inspire and energize students and staff alike
  • Use of wood to create strong, warm, and welcoming spaces for all

Quick Facts about the Project:

  • Cowichan Secondary School 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.