Seismic upgrades start at Wellington secondary

NANAIMO – School board approved architectural seismic upgrade plans for Wellington Secondary School last week.

The Nanaimo school district board approved seismic upgrade architectural plans for Wellington Secondary School at its board meeting last week.

The upgrade will include the construction of a new section of the school, referred to as G block, replacing the old section A block, closest to Mexicana Road, which will be demolished after the project is complete. All of the functions of A block will be moved into G block and the school entrance will be created in a space left by A block.

G block work is set to go to tender in late December, with the winning bid expected to be awarded Jan. 20.

Chad Dalrymple, school district energy and capital project manager, said preparation work began in June.

“They’ve been putting holes in all the concrete walls within the building on the inside and outside walls and adding rebar to those areas and securing the rebar with poured concrete,” Dalrymple said. “What that does is structurally secure the walls in the event of a seismic event so no concrete blocks topple over each other.”

That process will happen in every wall in the building, he added.

The new addition of the school will encompass aspects of the Ministry of Education’s 21st Century Learning model, which includes flexible spaces and natural lighting.

“It’s built to current ministry guidelines in terms of space acquisition, so each classroom will be 80 square metres. What’s currently in the building is about 100 square metres for a classroom,” Dalrymple said.

He said that in the event of an earthquake the building would remain upright but would have to re-examined afterwards to ensure that it was safe for ongoing use.

“It’s not a building that will withstand a large seismic event and we use it as an emergency centre,” said Dalrymple. “It’s a building that’s now going to be designed to stay upright and allow people to evacuate.”