A new high school will be built in southwest Calgary to make way for the planned west leg of the C-Train.

Officials from the city and the province announced $60 million in funding Monday for a new 1,500-student school to replace Ernest Manning High School.

"This is a land-for-land exchange," said Mayor Dave Bronconnier. "With a contribution of $30 million from the city, which will ensure that what was not a capital project or priority for Alberta Infrastructure has become one."

Construction of the new school on the southwest corner of 17th Avenue and 69th Street S.W. could begin as early as next spring, with the first students in the classrooms by January 2011.

Ron Liepert, the minister of education and MLA for Calgary-West, said the project doesn't amount to queue jumping, because this is a replacement high school, not a new one.

The chair of the Calgary Board of Education, Pat Cochrane, said the new high school will be in addition of other approved schools, not instead of them.

"We've certainly had assurances that it doesn't threaten anybody else's position on our capital plan list. And that was very important to us."

Once the new school is built, the city will take over ownership of the 43-year-old school at 3600 16th Ave. S.W. It will be torn down to make way for an LRT station.

City council approved plans for the west leg of the C-Train last November. About 60 properties stand in the path of the new light rail route, including homes along 17th Avenue S.W. and Bow Trail, as well as businesses at the Westbrook Mall.

It's estimated 40,000 people will ride trains daily from the west side to downtown when the line opens in 2012.