The Alberta government followed up on plans released in Budget 2017, and went public with plans for 26 school projects in the province.

Education Minister David Eggen and Premier Rachel Notley were on hand at Woodhaven Elementary in Spruce Grove Tuesday – that school is slated for modernization.

In the capital region, there are eight projects planned:

  • Three new schools in Edmonton – however one in Ellerslie is only funded into the design phase
  • Two school replacements in Edmonton, and one in Sherwood Park
  • Two schools to be modernized, one in Edmonton, the other in Spruce Grove (Woodhaven)

In total, the province has planned for 10 new schools, seven modernizations, and nine replacements – with planning funds allotted for two more schools.

Highlands Junior High is one of the schools set to be replaced – the old building replaced with a more modern structure.

“At this point, we’re continuing to work with the community to see exactly what that looks like,” Michelle Draper, chair of the Edmonton Public School Board said.

Both of the local school districts are welcoming the investments, but said more is needed.

“Our numbers projection for September is 3.3 percent increase, and that’s about 1,400 new students,” Laura Thibert, chair of the Edmonton Catholic School Board.

“We still need new schools, the population is growing, especially on the outskirts of the Anthony Henday,” Draper said.

The provincial budget set aside $500 million for the projects – it’s expected the first school will be ready for students in September 2021.

It’s expected the projects will create more than 6,000 jobs – construction is expected to start in 2018, after design work is complete.

With files from Bill Fortier