Community Papers

Saanich's Strawberry Vale preschool a heritage treasure

Students Calli Simpson, 3, and brother Elias, 5, clean up during construction at their Strawberry Vale Preschool. Erected in 1893, the schoolhouse is undergoing renovations on its 120th anniversary as a school. - Travis Paterson/News staff
Students Calli Simpson, 3, and brother Elias, 5, clean up during construction at their Strawberry Vale Preschool. Erected in 1893, the schoolhouse is undergoing renovations on its 120th anniversary as a school.
— image credit: Travis Paterson/News staff

One of Saanich’s most treasured heritage buildings is being refit this summer.

Luckily, only the outside of the 120 year old schoolhouse, home of Strawberry Vale preschool, needs to be fixed in compliance with heritage rules. Renovations are underway on the inside of the building, to be ready for the upcoming school year in September.

“We’re getting new shelving, some green upgrades, including some work on the original wainscoting, and other improvements as parts of the building are just worn out,” said Chrissy Simpson, a mom of two Strawberry Vale students.

Simpson is also the communications manager, a role she does in addition to volunteering three days a month in the preschool classroom, part of Strawberry Vale’s co-operative model.

“There is some fir siding that is in need of replacing but that will have to wait because we haven’t been able to source the appropriate siding to replace it,” Simpson said.

The schoolhouse has a rich history dating back to the farming days of the area. It was built in 1893 for $800 and the first class started in January 1894 with one teacher and 37 students ranging from Grades 1 to 8.

The schoolhouse has since been moved and was saved from destruction in the 1950s. This year’s renovations are estimated at $12,000.

“I attended this school as a child and I was fortunate to be able to come back and create even more great memories as the teacher,” said Strawberry Vale’s early childhood educator Gail Atkins.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Did you know?

  • Strawberry Vale Preschool will have a table at the Saanich Strawberry Festival, July 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beaver Lake Park.
  • The preschool is inviting anyone with historic photographs of the school house to help preserve and capture its unique history. Contact Chrissy Simpson at community@strawberryvalepreschool.org

 

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