The construction of the new Cowichan Secondary School is the first new secondary school construction in the Cowichan Valley in nearly 30 years. Information on the history of the project, scope, and ongoing construction will be updated for the community.
The current Cowichan Secondary School is 70-years old and is the oldest secondary school in the district. It has served thousands of graduating students for over 7 decades. It was also designed at a time that did not anticipate the modern and forward-moving curriculum delivery or contend with the realities of emergency preparedness.
The Board recognizes what the current Cowichan Secondary School represents to many in our community. Cowichan Secondary was built at a time when, across the country, the educational system was used to destroy Indigenous knowledge and culture rather than empower it as is done today. This multi-generational trauma is still very relevant to many in our communities. This school represents that time in our history to many in the community. A new Cowichan Secondary stands to help our community heal as we collectively continue our journey towards reconciliation.
For these reasons and many more, a replacement for Cowichan Secondary School has been the top priority for the Board of Education for a long time.
Now that the process is well underway we can look back at the tremendous community effort it took to get here.
In 2019, then Minister of Education Rob Flemming, came to the current Cowichan Secondary School to announce the replacement.
Much has happened since that announcement including engaging with the community about our Neighborhood Learning Centre. That engagement led the Board to develop a plan that was announced in May 2020 stating that the NLC would house an Indigenous Language and Culture Centre as the cornerstone as well as a Health and Wellness facility, and a high-tech meeting room. The new school will also include purpose-built learning communities with collaboration spaces, and incorporate areas for technology and innovation throughout.
On January 14, 2021, the Board issued the Request for Proposals for the new school. After a thorough process, Urban One Builders and HCMA Architecture + Design were selected as the builders of this design – build school.
THE NEW COWICHAN SECONDARY:
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.
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.
Information on the construction process and notifications for the community will be communicated to the community as soon as possible. If you are looking for further information on the project, the below links have a wealth of information:
Photos from Events
Public Presentation Video