Two new schools in Airdrie set to open to students in September
By: Sara Wilson
| Posted: Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 11:28 am
Airdrie students will be able to open the doors of two new schools this fall.
W.H. Croxford High School, Airdrie’s new high school, currently under construction on the corner of Yankee Valley Boulevard and Chinook Winds Drive and C.W. Perry School the new middle school, located off First Avenue and Sagewood Boulevard, will both welcome students this September.
The 12 new schools were funded under the governments P3 system – which aims to share the cost of the infrastructure with the private sector to secure a lower interest loan than the Province could - were part of a $550-million investment, announced by the government in May 2011, to complete 35 new schools and modernization projects (22 new schools and 13 modernizations) in some of Alberta’s fastest-growing communities.
“This proves, yet again, that Alberta’s P3s work. These 12 state-of-the-art new schools were delivered on time and on budget, and at a cost savings of $43 million when compared to using government’s traditional method to build the schools,” said Wayne Drysdale, minister of Infrastructure.
The schools set to open in the fall of 2014 include - Airdrie (two schools), Beaumont (two schools joint facility), Brooks, Chestermere, Cochrane, Medicine Hat, Penhold and Red Deer (three schools) – were funded through the first round of P3 systems.
The Opposition has called on the government to rethink the P3 funding option, after a report released in February surrounding the system to fund 19 new school projects throughout the Province and four additional schools in Airdrie, have only received one bid from contractors as “the projects are too big” in scale.
“Those schools we’re promised by the Stelmach government years and years ago,” said Chestermere-Rocky View MLA and Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister. “This government is trying to get good news out, in reality Albertans realize that they haven’t put a shovel in ground.”
The Deloitte report, produced internally for Alberta Infrastructure, found that the 19 schools put out for procurement on a Design-Build-Finance-Maintain P3 model are not getting contractor interest because the project is too big.
Due to the lack of successful bids, the government dissolved the P3 systems for the remaining schools in June, which ultimately delayed the construction of the remaining 19 schools, including one in Cochrane.
“You’d would think that they had never built a school before, that it was a brand new project and that they had it figured out, there have been hundred’s of schools built in Alberta and thousand of schools in this country why is it so difficult for this group to build schools?” McAllister said.
“It’s like this government couldn’t organize a bun fight in a bakery, how hard is it to tender a few bids, get contractors, and recognize that it’s a priority and make it happen. It seems like they are more concerned about putting up “Building Alberta” signs than building schools,” he added.