Zeballos Elementary/Secondary School






Chang Holovsky Architects, Iredale Architecture

Project Owner

School District No. 84 Vancouver Island West

Construction Manager

Muchalat Projects

Structural Engineer

Herold Engineering

Project Materials

Laminated veneer lumber (LVL)



Solid-sawn heavy timber


Structural Systems

Project Overview

When a rockslide threatened the existing school several years ago, the Ministry of Education and School District 84 acted quickly to commission a replacement building at a safer location on the north side of the river. The new school accommodates about 70 students from kindergarten to grade 12. It also acts as a drop-in centre for pre-school students and their parents and as a meeting place for the greater community. The school programs are arranged on a single level and include five classrooms, a kindergarten, a library, a full-size gymnasium with adjacent kitchen, and staff offices.

Wood Use

The rainfall on the west coast of Vancouver Island is significant and influenced the design in both expected and unexpected ways. The structure has multiple steeply pitched, metal roofs that reduce the apparent scale of the building and deep eaves to protect the vertical wood siding from the weather. On the front of the building, the overhangs are supported on 150-millimetre square wood posts, creating a sheltered portico for outdoor play. Traditional light wood-frame construction was the logical choice for the main structure, as both materials and labour were regionally available.

“It was agreed from the outset that we should use as much wood as possible for this project. Light wood-frame construction with some pre-engineered elements was the most cost effective solution. Where we could protect it from the weather, we used vertical wood siding to fit in with the character of the village”.

Peter Skilton, Operations Supervisor
School District 84