News / Edmonton

New schools in Alberta built under budget: Alberta education minister

EDMONTON — Alberta Education Minister Dave Eggen says some of the latest schools to be built in the province came in under budget.

And he adds that bids for the next round of construction are coming in lower than what the province expected.

Eggen says that means more new schools could be added to the list.

He says bids are coming in 10 to 20 per cent lower.

Eggen says 32 new schools have opened provincewide in the last nine weeks and another dozen are due in January.

The plan is to build 20 to 30 schools in the next round, while, overall,  230 projects are on the books.

“It’s certainly optimistic to see bids are coming in lower and that gives us a lot more latitude on how we can move forward.”

Eggen said he’s well aware of the need.

“We see enrolment continues to grow here. It’s gratifying. We have young families staying here in the province, particularly in the cities. As we build our next list for construction, we keep all of those things in mind,” he told CHED radio in Edmonton 

Growth pressures also are showing up north of Calgary as well as in mid-sized cities, he added.

“We’re trying to use a way by which we choose based on need,  geographic location and anticipated growth over the next decade or so,” Eggen said.

“You see a demographic growth in the province, but it’s in specific spots. I have to be sensitive to geographic fairness and you have to try to use a bit of a crystal ball to see where young families are going to be in the next decade or so.”

Eggen wouldn't say how many more schools might be added to the next construction phase if there is a 10 per cent budget cushion.

A formal announcement is expected in the spring when Finance Minister Joe Ceci tables a budget.

(CHED) 

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