News / Edmonton

Parents worried after 21 Edmonton school projects delayed

'The biggest concerns is that if it’s delayed now is it going to happen again,' said the parent council.

Edmonton's Ross Sheppard High School faces a two-year delay in its modernization program.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Edmonton's Ross Sheppard High School faces a two-year delay in its modernization program.

Nearly half of the schools the province has promised since 2013 will be delayed Education minister David Eggen announced Tuesday.

“After thorough review of more than 200 ongoing school projects in the province, we now believe 101 new school and modernization projects will open later than their original estimated completion date,” said Eggen.

He said 20 per cent of those schools will open a few months behind schedule, while 70 per cent are a year behind.

Eggen is asking the auditor general to investigate the process that lead to the delays, but is putting much of the blame on the former Progressive Conservative government.  

“The former government failed to set out realistic construction guidelines and pushed projects timelines through without long-term planning,” he said. “People have been asking, where are the skeletons from the previous government? This is a big one and it’s a thick file.”

Of the 101 delayed schools, 21 projects are in Edmonton.

Lindsay Peddle, chair of the parent Council at the over-capacity Michael Strembitsky School, was hoping some schools under construction nearby would ease the pressure, but now she worries about more delays.  

“The biggest concerns is that if it’s delayed now is it going to happen again.”

Edmonton Public School Board chair Michael Janz said most of the delays announced Tuesday were known, but he is pleased to see someone will take a broader look.

“I am very eager to read the Auditor General’s report. I think that will have lots of good information for those in the school planning business,” he said.  

Janz said the province needs to take a broad, top to bottom, look at school construction.

“We have been behind the eight ball for a while when it comes to new school construction and I hope this plays into a broader discussion,” he said.

- With files from Aaron Chatha  

More on Metronews.ca