The provincial government is investing in new and modernized classrooms, in Budget 2023.
Over three years, the government will invest $2.3 billion in school design projects, construction, planning and pre-planning program projects which will create approximately 25,000 spaces for students across the province, a government of Alberta press release said.
The investment will fund 58 projects, including pre-planning program project funding, design funding, and planning program projects for the Chestermere-Strathmore area.
The three projects include a K-9 school in the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division in Chestermere, pre-planning program project for a K-9 school in the Rocky View School Division in Chestermere, and a replacement of Westmount School for the Golden Highs School Division in Strathmore.
“Alberta’s young learners are the community and business leaders of tomorrow. They need the right spaces to gain the tools and skills needed to prepare for their bright futures. By investing in our schools, we’re investing in our students while at the same time creating more jobs and supporting the local economy,” Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange said.
The investment in education infrastructure includes $372 million for construction and design projects, with 10 new schools, 16 replacement schools, and seven modernizations, the release said.
Another $4 million will support planning activities, site analysis and scope development for 14 projects, $1 million for 11 pre-planning conceptual projects, $1 billion to continue work on projects already underway, $300 million over three years in capital projects, and $279 million for maintenance and renewal of existing school buildings.
To support public charter school infrastructure, the provincial government is investing $171 million, $43 million for facility upgrades, and $93 million for modular classrooms.
“The Alberta government is investing in critical infrastructure projects that include upgrading and building high-quality schools to ensure Albertans can send their children to schools in their local communities. Our focus is on ensuring these projects are delivered on time, on budget and where they’re needed,” Minister of Infrastructure Nathan Neudorf said.
As a result of constant challenges in finding suitable school sites causing project delays, the provincial government has created a school planning program.
Upcoming school projects will begin when formal construction funding is approved. Under the program, planning and site development will begin for 14 school projects, and another 11 projects will receive pre-planning funding to develop the scope of the projects.
The planning program is designed to ensure the development of the project scope and site investigation is completed while highlighting potential risks, and mitigating costs, the release said.
“The goal is to provide school boards with the resources they need to remove barriers and better position the project for design consideration and construction approval in future budget cycles, which is expected to reduce costs and minimize schedule disruptions and delays,” the release said.
Full construction funding includes construction and post-occupancy review, design funding includes the preparation of construction, drawings, and specifications, planning funding includes site analysis and scope development, and pre-planning funding includes project scope elements, programming priorities, and community engagement.
“Government partners, municipalities, and school boards will also be able to plan for capital funding knowing the long-term direction of government,” the release said.