Jayson Lovell, Wolf Creek Public Schools superintendent, expressed excitement, during a previous announcement about Blackfalds’ future high school. (Advocate file photo).

Jayson Lovell, Wolf Creek Public Schools superintendent, expressed excitement, during a previous announcement about Blackfalds’ future high school. (Advocate file photo).

Blackfalds needs a new high school, regardess of whether it’s a P3 build, suggests official

Whether it’s done as a public-private partnership rests with the government

Blackfalds is slated to get a new school that could be built as a private-public partnership.

The new high school for the Wolf Creek School Division has a projected budget of about $29 million.

Premier Jason Kenney announced this week that the 970-student school is among five projects the provincial government hopes to fund in partnership with private industry, as part of a P3 bundle amounting to more than $200 million.

This would also include a public and Catholic high school in Edmonton, a public high school in Leduc and a Grade 7 to 12 school in Langdon, in the Rocky View School Division.

Vincent Burke, spokesperson for Wolf Creek Public Schools, said the new Blackfalds high school is eagerly anticipated.

“We know that the school is something the community of Blackfalds is looking forward to, and will be a great addition for students and families looking to stay in Blackfalds for grades 9 through 12.”

Although some critics of P3 partnerships have raised fears about the potential for corporate influence on education and pointed out some ongoing maintenance issues with other P3 projects, the Wolf Creek officials declined to comment on these matters.

Burke said the decision about whether the school is a P3 or conventional project rests with Alberta Infrastructure.

He added Wolf Creek officials remain as excited about the project going forward as the rest of the community.

According to the timeline, ground should be broken on the project in the summer of 2021, with a completion date of June 2024.

The chair of the Edmonton Public School Board, Trisha Estabrooks, told the CBC about some of the successes and some problems with previous P3 schools — including getting maintenance work done in a timely manner.

But she said parents mostly care about alleviating crowded classroom conditions.

“At the end of the day, we need schools, and we need them built as quickly as possible,” Estabrooks stated.

Wolf Creek Public Schools