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Glenlyon Norfolk School's Richmond Avenue campus headed for major redevelopment

A rendering depicting a redeveloped Glenlyon Norfolk School Pemberton Woods Campus, in Victoria's Gonzales neighbourhood. The campus will shift its layout to situate academic building frontage via Richmond Avenue, with its field moved to Maddison Street (as depicted in this image, looking west from Maddison Avenue) from its present-day location along Richmond Avenue. GNS / Cascadia Architects

Glenlyon Norfolk School's Richmond Avenue campus headed for major redevelopment
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
Plans to modernize and expand the Glenlyon Norfolk secondary school campus (GNS) in Victoria’s Gonzalez neighbourhood have taken a major step forward, Citified has learned.
 
 
The school’s administration has filed a formal application with the City of Victoria for a rezoning or official community plan amendment for 728-733 Laurentian Place, 724-830 Maddison Street, and 731-781 Richmond Avenue, with a campus redevelopment vision “to create a dynamic environment where academic pursuits are balanced with activities that nurture well-being, foster community connections and inspire learning across a diverse breadth of subjects from technology and athletics to sciences, arts and culture,” the application package states.
 
The application follows community engagement that began in 2023.
 
Glenlyon Norfolk’s plans for its Pemberton Woods Campus Renewal include on-campus housing, modern academic buildings and sports facilities, and most critically, a reconfiguration of campus structures to front Richmond Avenue, where currently a soccer pitch/field is located, and a field relocation to Maddison Street.
 
According to documents before the City, the vision for the campus includes retention of the Denford Hall theatre, while adding to its north two connected structures, a stand-alone building west of the hall, plus a fourth structure immediately south of the hall. A row of two and three-storey townhome-style residences are situated along the northern perimeter of the future field (the field will span from approximately half of the property on the Richmond Avenue side, through to Maddison Street).
 
The school cites the age of existing facilities, seismic requirements and the need for modernized learning environments as key drivers of its modernization plan. An expansion will also incorporate adjacent properties owned by the school, primarily available currently as market rental housing.
 
Aerial view of GNS redevelopment.
An aerial rendering depicts the future GNS Pemberton Woods campus layout, with Richmond Avenue at-bottom, and Maddison Street at-top. Currently, the school's field fronts Richmond Avenue.  GNS / Cascadia Architects 
 
Architectural firm Cascadia Architects has drafted plans of the re-development prospect, depicting two-storey and three-storey academic buildings, that comprise of classroom spaces, a dining hall, a gymnasium, and underground parking. A driveway along the entire Richmond Avenue frontage will accommodate school buses and other vehicles arriving at the campus with off-street loading and unloading, and a central walkway will lead from Richmond Avenue to each building.
 
There are no details in the application package pertaining to redevelopment timelines, suggesting the vision documents for the purposes of a rezoning or official community plan amendment will set guiding principles that may be adjusted prior to construction taking place, and will serve as examples of anticipated massing and location.
 
Chad Holtum, Head of School, issued an accompanying letter with the application, stating:
 
"The renewal has been shaped through extensive engagement and collaboration with various stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, parents, board members, alumni, neighbours and the broader Victoria community. Our goal is to create a dynamic environment where academic pursuits are balanced with activities that nurture well-being, foster community connections and inspire learning across a diverse breadth of subjects from technology and athletics to sciences, arts and culture.
 
"We are seeking more than just enhancing facilities; we are crafting a multifaceted ecosystem that supports a diverse range of needs, integrates innovative solutions and improves local infrastructure to accommodate our growing city. Our proposed plan includes the addition of diverse housing options and improved transportation, all thoughtfully designed to complement the character of our neighbourhood."
 
GNS held two recent open houses in May to engage with the community and collect feedback, which follow multiple engagement events in 2023. Feedback collected last year focused on infrastructure and traffic, landscaping, and construction phasing. With the application now before the City, the rezoning effort could span anywhere from one year to several, depending on staff feedback and council feedback. Construction is not anticipated to occur in the immediate or medium terms.
 
GNS operates two campuses in Greater Victoria, a secondary campus in Gonzales and an elementary school campus along the Oak Bay waterfront. The latter underwent a modernization project several years ago.
 
 
Established in 1913 as Norfolk House School in the current location of Glenlyon Norfolk’s Pemberton Woods Campus, the institution merged in 1986 with Glenlyon School to become Glenlyon Norfolk. Approximately 700 students attend the two campuses according to Wikipedia, with Pemberton Woods providing classrooms for grades six through twelve, and junior kindergarten through grades five education at the Beach Drive campus in Oak Bay.
 
A new Pemberton Woods Campus will accommodate up to 650 students, while at its peak, the existing school has accommodated 555 students, GNS cites via its website. C
 
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