Construction on the $45 million seismic upgrade to Tofino and Ucluelet’s only high school broke ground this week, on May 19.
Funded by the Government of B.C., the project involves partially replacing the Ucluelet Secondary School and structurally upgrading the Ucluelet Elementary School.
“The enhanced structure will withstand the maximum seismic events that are anticipated. And recognizing that this facility is an emergency response centre, the District of Ucluelet has agreed to provide funding to buy a generator that will be included in the project to provide power in the event there is a power failure,” said school seismic project manager Jim Alkins.
The first phase of construction will involve levelling an area for the new academic block, which will be constructed between the track and Matterson Road and the existing parking area at the secondary school.
Unitech Construction Management has been hired by the school district to complete the project.
“Unitech will bring their site superintendent [Randy Landreville] and they will engage with some other contractors. The first phase will be the striping of the rock outcrop. We are trying to remove some soil,” said Alkins, adding that Unitech has completed about 177 seismic projects throughout B.C.
“It’ll be a fairly slow start and, as we get further into it here, there will be different crews that come on site. The early work right now is to do the site preparation for the new academic block,” he said.
“We recognize there will be periods of noise from these construction activities and vehicles travelling in the area. We have reviewed options and feel we have developed the most efficient approach, which will reduce the construction time and impact on the community. We ask for your patience as we move forward with this important community project,” reads an information bulletin from Unitech site superintendent Landreville.
Alkins said Unitech is bringing about four to five workers for the demolition phase of the project. They are also looking to hire some local trade workers during the summer period.