Rocky View Schools approves capital plan for 2015 to 2018
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Mar 27, 2014 11:03 am
Rocky View Schools (RVS) has approved the newest wish list of capital projects with the 2015 to 2018 capital plan on March 20.
In the plan, RVS is seeking approval from the Government of Alberta for 11 new schools, three additions to existing schools and two major modernizations at Cochrane High School and Elbow Valley Elementary School in the Springbank area. The price tag for these project totals $278 million.
“Although we will open 4,300 new student spaces by 2016, we will need to open at least two new schools each year starting in 2017 to accommodate new students arriving on our doorstep,” said Board Chair Colleen Munro in a press release. “If we don’t, by 2018 our schools will be maxed out, with a utilization rate of 102.3 per cent.”
“We are now growing faster than we were before the 2008 economic crash,” said RVS Director of Facility Planning John Wheatley.
The top three spots on the division’s priority list are: a new kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Cochrane, a new kindergarten to Grade 8 school in west Airdrie and a new kindergarten to Grade 9 school in Chestermere.
The plan also includes six renovations and minor modernization projects that come with a $16.7-million price tag. These projects will be funded through RVS and Rocky View County reserve accounts.
The plan will now be submitted to the government for consideration. The government may approve high-priority projects if funds become available.
“We know we are going to be lucky to get one or two (of the projects approved),” Munro said at the meeting.
Fourth on the priority list is an addition to Herons Crossing School in Airdrie to expand the kindergarten to Grade 5 school to a kindergarten to Grade 8 facility.
The fifth project on the list is a new kindergarten to Grade 12 school on the Prince of Peace campus in the Chestermere area, which caused concern for Trustee Sylvia Eggerer.
Eggerer, who voiced her displeasure earlier on March 20, about a decision to relocate two portables to Prince of Peace Luthern School (see story on page 13), said she would rather see priority given to schools with more in-area students. The number of out-of-area students at Prince of Peace is about 57 per cent, according to Wheatley.
“I have to object to having Prince of Peace High School on our list as a number five priority when you take a look at all the other areas behind it,” Eggerer said.
Despite Eggerer’s opposition to the high priority given to Prince of Peace High School, the plan was passed with only Eggerer opposing it.
“While we are appreciative to have been included in the 50 projects committed by the Alberta government, Rocky View’s growth is exponential – 100 per cent greater than our neighbouring boards, which too are clamoring for additional schools,” Murno said in the press release. “Alberta is growing; school boards need more schools.”
The division will make the new 2015 to 2018 capital plan available online soon, according to the press release. Once the plan is online, it will be available by visiting rockyview.ab.ca and selecting the Publications tab followed by the Capital/Budget tab.