The provincial government will help the Greater Essex District School Board build two new high schools in Essex County.

Ontario has approved $3.2 million to help the board buy land for a new high school in Leamington.

The site is on Oak Street West, near the Kinsmen recreation complex and the Heinz plant.

Warren Kennedy, the director of education, said the ministry still has to approve designs and building tenders before construction can start.

"It's a sort of a lock-step process. We go out secure the property we get approval for that, then we design the building, and we have to get approval for that," Kennedy said. "So the costing that would come with that approval has to be approved by the ministry."

About 1,000 students will attend the Leamington high school.

The total estimated cost of the new school is $26 million.

The board is also getting $17.5 million dollars for a new high school in Essex.

That one will go on the same site as the existing building.

Kennedy said construction will be done in three stages.

The gym and pool will stay.

The rest of the new school is expected to be ready by 2015.

"We have to build a new part. That will accommodate some students and we'll have to move some students out so we can get into that pool area and the gymnasium area, where we're just going to be refurbishing," Kennedy explained.

About 700 students will attend the new Essex High School.

Kennedy believes the new high schools could be ready by 2015 or 2016.