Prentice Government advances the schools Alberta needs now
The Prentice government announced Phase 3 of a consolidated advancement of education capital projects representing a 10-year capital build-out of new schools and school expansions.
This three-phase build-out will consist of 230 capital projects, consisting of both new schools and modernizations. This work will enable Alberta to catch-up to student enrollment growth. These three phases of work – essential to keep pace with 10 years of record growth - amounts to the largest school construction project in Canadian history.
The three phases and 230 projects are phased as follows:
- Phase 1 - announced in 2011, includes 35 schools, of which 31 are complete;
- Phase 2 - announced in 2013, includes 50 new schools and 70 modernizations, all but five of which will be ready to accept students in 2016; and
- Phase 3 - 55 new schools and 20 modernizations announced today.
“Alberta’s prosperous future has drawn young families from all over Canada and the world to our province. This government is listening to Albertans and acting quickly to deliver on the priorities of Alberta families and communities.”
New commitments in Phase 3 announcement today include $43.2 million in funding to school boards this year to begin immediate planning for 55 new schools and 20 further modernizations. This immediate allocation will accelerate projects by up to one year. Communities where the schools will be located have already been identified.
The Prentice Government has also committed to full transparency with respect to all capital projects, including school projects. Albertans will be able to track all school builds and modernizations on a School Program Status report that will be available from the Department of Infrastructure today.
All activities related to this consolidated program will be fast-tracked through Cabinet to ensure sufficient resources are in place and school siting approval processes are streamlined. In addition, another $100 million has been allocated to fast-track school maintenance projects.
“We are moving quickly to provide school boards that have high-growth enrolment with the predictability they need for longer-term infrastructure planning. I am pleased to equip them with the extra resources they need to meet this challenging situation now and in years to come.”
A four-member Cabinet committee, consisting of Minister of Infrastructure Manmeet Bhullar, Education Minister Gordon Dirks, Minister Diana McQueen and Minister Jeff Johnson, has been assigned to oversee the building of these schools to ensure opening targets are met. The committee will consult regularly with school boards, municipalities and the construction industry to expedite permitting and other approvals, and to strengthen the capacity to deliver these projects to Alberta students as quickly as possible.
“This approach to building schools will get children into new classrooms sooner and protect existing schools so they are safe and comfortable for students. Our committee will provide senior-level oversight, help streamline processes, and ensure these schools open on time as promised.”