Halfway through the two-year build plan for the new Belmont and Royal Bay secondary schools, the projects are on time and on schedule, according to Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge.
The new buildings will be state-of-the-art and are long overdue, he said.
“As a board, we’ve been asking for about 15 years for a new school. It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “And these are literally the best in the province.”
The new Belmont will feature a large gym able to split into two full-sized playing courts, a theatre that seats 300; seven science labs and one multipurpose lab for student use, and an overall LEED Gold certification.
Standing with a view of the Pacific Ocean, the new Royal Bay project is expected to see finishing work begin near the end of the month. The school will feature a teaching kitchen, a 350-seat theatre, a rooftop basketball court, and an asphalt rubber track.
Both buildings will benefit from natural light throughout, better air flow and quality and useable common areas inside and out, including neighbourhood learning centres, which will invite the community onto school grounds.
At Belmont, Camosun College will have the use of two classrooms for post-secondary courses. There will also be a community daycare, expanding the age range on campus significantly, something Cambridge believes benefits high school students.
“They’ll be learning right alongside college students, and for some of them, they may make that transition seamlessly.”
At Royal Bay, there’s an “immense space” that will be used by West Shore Parks and Recreation for various classes as well.
“I think it’s just terrific,” said Cambridge. “It gets great use out of the public space.”
With both projects running smoothly, on time and on budget, the schools are expected to open on schedule to welcome students come September 2015, said Sooke School Board chair Wendy Hobbs.
“The kids in our area have certainly waited a long time for it,” she said.