Province abandoning P3 model for 19 new Alberta schools
Published Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:52PM MDT
The provincial government announced plans to build 19 new schools in Alberta in the coming years, but it’s news officials at one Edmonton school district said they were disappointed to hear – as the way the province is planning to pay for them has changed, and that’s affecting timelines.
The province said some schools will be delayed, as the provincial government has decided to build the new schools themselves – instead of using the Public Private Partnership, or P3, model.
Officials said the decision was made to take on the projects themselves to save money – officials found using the P3 model to deliver the 19 schools would cost $570.7 million, while it would cost about $556.6 million if the province borrowed the money themselves.
“Because the Alberta government can borrow cheaper than anybody, even a P3 proponent,” Infrastructure Minister Wayne Drysdale said.
As a result of the change, some schools won’t start on time – despite assurances from the province that they would be. Two schools under the Edmonton Public School District are among the delayed projects.
“Of course it was a very ambitious announcement the government had made,” Sarah Hoffman, Chair of the Edmonton Public School Board said. “I think we were all hopeful that they’d be able to meet the timelines that they’d committed to, and this is unfortunate that we’ll have kids riding the bus longer than we’d anticipated.”
The schools affected by the change are an elementary school slated for Heritage Valley, and a Kindergarten to Grade 9 school in Terwillegar Heights.
The third project included the announcement Wednesday is a Kindergarten to Grade 9 school in the Lewis Farms area, under the Edmonton Catholic School District – the district said that project is on track to open in the fall of 2016.
The province said new tenders will be issued in the next few weeks.
With files from Dan Grummett