The new Belmont and Royal Bay secondary schools opened with fanfare this week in the Glen Lake (Langford) and Royal Bay (Colwood) neighbourhoods on the West Shore.
Both buildings offer tremendous examples of what good design can achieve when creating a structure from the ground up.
Some people have voiced concern, however, with the fact some areas of the schools aren’t yet completed.
Clearly, Belmont is further away from full completion than its slightly smaller cousin overlooking the ocean near the corner of Metchosin and Latoria roads. And Belmont has inherited much of the salvageable equipment from the old school, approximately 75 per cent, unlike Royal Bay.
Sooke School District representatives led media on a tour through parts of the two schools on Tuesday morning, when only Grade 9 and 10 students were in attendance.
It was probably a good idea from a marketing standpoint. The first real test of the facilities’ ability to host their full complement of students would not be experienced until the following day, when Grade 11s and 12s walked through the doors for the first time.
Will the delays at Belmont put a major crimp in the curriculum for the fine arts department or the auto shop? Not much, likely. Staff and administrators knew going in that certain areas of the school weren’t yet done and made adjustments. Come November, people will no doubt be settled in and enjoying their new rooms, which are far more user friendly than the predecessors.
From a logistical perspective, slight delays in the completion of such major projects are commonplace. We understand that Oak Bay is going through some similar challenges with its new high school.
While such delays may be acceptable when looking at the big picture – these schools should keep the West Shore set for years to come – it’s important to note that the added time frame will not affect the overall cost of the projects. That is something for which we can thank SD62 negotiators.