Five new schools will be built in Saskatchewan, including new joint public and Catholic schools in Saskatoon’s Willowgrove neighbourhood, Premier Brad Wall announced Thursday.
Also announced was a new middle school will be built in Warman, new schools to consolidate St. Patrick Elementary School and St. Joseph Middle School in Swift Current, a replacement school for Ecole St. Thomas Elementary School in Lloydminster, and a major renovation to Regina’s Ecole St. Andrew Elementary School.
"This is the largest number of new schools announced in a single day in Saskatchewan history," said Wall.
"These new facilities will improve the lives of roughly 2,900 students and will represent a total investment of $95 million when they are completed."
The new Willowgrove schools have been on the Ministry of Education's capital request list since 2005 under the "critical space shortage" category. The public school division had initially planned to build a joint building with the City of Saskatoon, and the Catholic school was to stand alone. But last June, the government told the Catholic division its request would get speedier consideration if it built a joint public-Catholic school building.
Optimistically, a source told The StarPhoenix, the announcement means construction contracts could be ready for tender by early 2011, with the earliest possible school opening being fall 2013.
All six projects are now in the approval-in-principle stage and receive a total of $6 million dollars from the government to complete detailed plans and specs, which must be finished before construction can start.
In addition to those major projects, $5 million is being advanced to support facility maintenance projects in Churchbridge, Melfort, Loon Lake, Imperial, Rosthern, Swift Current and Lucky Lake.
Regina and Saskatoon Public School Divisions will also receive additional financial support to complete facility audits.
In the past two years, the Saskatchewan government has committed more than $300 million towards 28 major school capital projects and close to 400 smaller projects in schools across the province.