Alberta government announces 26 new school projects

Premier Rachel Notley and Education Minister David Eggen are in Spruce Grove today to announce new school projects from the 2017 budget.

The government announced $500M for new school projects in the 2017 budget

Premier Rachel Notley is joined by students at Woodhaven Middle School in Spruce Grove on Tuesday as she announces 26 school projects across Alberta. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

The Alberta government announced it has approved 26 new school projects, as it promised in last week's 2017 budget.

Premier Rachel Notley and Education Minister David Eggen were at Woodhaven Middle School in Spruce Grove Tuesday to announce the projects, which included funding for eight new schools, nine replacements for older schools and seven modernizations.

There is also funding for the planning of two additional schools. Construction funding will be announced at a later date.

Eight new schools will address growing populations in Edmonton, Calgary and Airdrie.

In Edmonton:

  • The Meadows (junior high, Edmonton Public Schools)
  • Pilot Sound (elementary, Edmonton Public Schools)

In Calgary:

  • Cranston (elementary, Calgary Board of Education)
  • Evergreen (elementary, Calgary Board of Education)
  • Coventry Hills (elementary, Calgary Board of Education)
  • Auburn Bay (elementary core, Calgary Catholic School Division)

In Airdrie:

  • Airdrie (elementary, Calgary Catholic School Division)
  • Hillcrest (K-9, Rocky View Schools)

The nine replacement schools include:

  • Ecole Joseph Moreau, Edmonton (Greater North Central Francophone Education Region)
  • Highlands junior high, Edmonton (Edmonton Public Schools)
  • Banff elementary Phase 2, Banff (Canadian Rockies Regional Division)
  • Camilla School, Riviere Qui Barre (Sturgeon School Division)
  • Replacement composite high school, Grande Prairie (Grande Prairie Public School District)
  • Irma school replacement, Irma (Buffalo Trail Public Schools Regional Division)
  • Huntsville school, Iron Springs (Palliser Regional Schools)
  • Wye School, Sherwood Park (Elk Island Public Schools)
  • Ecole les Cypres, Medicine Hat (Southern Francophone Education Region)

The seven schools that will be modernized are:

  • Bonnyville Centralized, Bonnyville (Northern Lights School Division)
  • Forest Lawn High School, Calgary (Calgary Board of Education)
  • Evergreen Elementary School, Drayton Valley (Wild Rose School Division)
  • Ben Calf Robe, Edmonton (Edmonton Catholic Schools)
  • St. Patrick Catholic School, Grande Prairie (Grande Prairie Catholic School District)
  • St. Patrick's Community School, Red Deer (Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
  • Woodhaven Middle School, Spruce Grove (Parkland School Division)

"Modernizations are quite significant," Eggen told reporters. "For example, here at Woodhaven [in Spruce Grove], it means increasing capacity by probably at least 300 students."

He said modernizations could mean anything from new classrooms to new gymnasiums, depending on each case.

The two schools the government is providing funding to design are expected to be an elementary school in Lethbridge and another school at Orchards Boulevard SW and 30 Avenue SW in the Ellerslie area of Edmonton.

Calgary Board of Education (CBE) chair Joy Bowen-Eyre said the schools will make a dent in its list of capital projects.

"We're growing exponentially and because of that we could fill four new elementaries every year based on our population growth, so we will continue to work with the government," Bowen-Eyre said.

She said the CBE still has several middle schools on its wish list that need to be approved, as well as high schools. 

The March 16 budget included $500 million for new school projects over the next four years.

It also provided $20 million geared toward new playgrounds and $473 million for maintenance and renewal of schools around the province.

The government said the 26 school projects announced Tuesday will create more than 6,000 jobs. Construction on almost all of the projects will begin in 2018 after design is complete. Schools are projected to begin opening in 2021.