New Charlottetown school part of 2018-19 capital budget

The P.E.I. government has announced it will build a new school in the Sherwood neighbourhood of Charlottetown, and expand three other schools.

1st phase of $60M mental health campus announced

Sherwood Elementary will be replaced, the province announced Friday. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The P.E.I. government has announced it will build a new school in the Sherwood neighbourhood of Charlottetown, and expand three schools in other parts of the province.

The announcements were part of the capital budget, tabled in the legislature Friday.

The 2018-19 budget comes in at a $133.9 million. Last year the government budgeted $96.6 million, but is currently forecasting $111 million.

Finance Minister Allen Roach said the increased spending was due to additional renovation costs at Three Oaks High School and École La-Belle-Cloche, as well as changes to construction timelines.

Investments in education

The budget includes expansions to Stratford Elementary, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and École-sur-Mer in Summerside.

Those schools will see that work start in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Construction for the replacement of Sherwood Elementary will start in 2019.

The budget for school construction and renovation in 2018-19 is $21.4 million.

P.E.I. Finance Minister Allen Roach delivers the capital budget. (Province of P.E.I.)

Also included is $2.5 million for new classroom technology.

"In addition to refreshing the computer equipment used in classrooms, this budget includes funding for infrastructure upgrades to provide open wireless internet in schools," Roach told the legislature

Mental health campus moved up

Roach said the province has accelerated plans to build a mental health campus to replace the Hillsborough Hospital.

"Construction will commence in 2018-2019 of the mental health structured housing component of the campus," said Roach.

That component will provide accommodations for residential patients, as well as an adult day treatment program.

The budget includes $60 million spread out over several years for the campus.

Fast internet

The government also put up $30 million for the fibre optic backbone promised in the throne speech, delivered earlier this week. That spending is spread over three years.

The new fibre optic backbone could be up to 1,500 kilometres long. (CBC)

"[The] 1,500 kilometers of fibre backbone [will] improve internet access in all communities across the province, especially in rural Prince Edward Island," said Roach.

The backbone will increase internet speed and capacity, he said, and help attract and retain businesses.

New roadworks

Work will continue on the Cornwall bypass in 2018-19, part of $42 million in spending on highways.

There will also be a major redesign of the Mason Road intersection in Stratford, as well as 138 kilometres of road resurfacing.

With files from Kerry Campbell and Laura Chapin