Alberta says it will build 55 new schools; expected to cost $2 billion

The Alberta government says it will build 55 new schools across the province and modernize 20 more.

CALGARY — The Alberta government says it will build 55 new schools across the province and modernize 20 more.

The projects, announced by Premier Jim Prentice in Calgary, are in addition to 50 news schools and 70 modernizations announced last year by former premier Alison Redford.

An Infrastructure Department spokesman says most of the new schools are to be ready for students by 2017.

A final tab is not yet known, but it’s expected to exceed $2 billion.

The government is giving school boards an immediate injection of $43 million so that planning can begin right away.

Fifteen of the new schools are to be built in Edmonton and 12 are to go up in Calgary.

The government says all but five of the 50 new schools Redford announced will be ready for students in 2016.

The Opposition Wildrose says the schools are long overdue, but the party is concerned that Prentice made the announcement during a byelection campaign.

Prentice and Education Minister Gord Dirks don’t have seats in the legislature and are running in byelections set for Oct. 27.

The Wildrose says it will ask the ethics commissioner to investigate.

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