New schools not expected to open in Red Deer until 2016

In announcing the abandonment of the public-private partnership approach for the latest batch of 19 school builds on Wednesday, provincial Infrastructure Minister Wayne Drysdale said construction could begin on some of the province’s 31 other new builds by this summer.

In announcing the abandonment of the public-private partnership approach for the latest batch of 19 school builds on Wednesday, provincial Infrastructure Minister Wayne Drysdale said construction could begin on some of the province’s 31 other new builds by this summer.

If so, it will not be in Red Deer.

Both of Red Deer’s public and Catholic school divisions were told earlier this year that they would be funded for new builds in the city, with the intent to open the schools in 2016.

Red Deer Public’s next elementary school will be built in Inglewood, but superintendent Piet Langstraat is not expecting shovels to be in the ground until well into 2015. The division is currently discussing going to tender for architectural services to start on design work.

He said the division wants to design its build with the desires of other community organizations in mind.

“What’s really important for the board and to me is speaking with the community about partnerships and really looking at what we can do together. … That is the advantage of doing a non-P3 building — there are more opportunities to have those kinds of discussions,” said Langstraat.

The local Catholic division has been working with an architectural firm since last fall, even before it was informed that it would be funded for a build. The division’s badly-needed high school will be constructed in northeast Red Deer near 30th Avenue and 67th Street.

Board chair Guy Pelletier said the division is looking at whether it wants to come up with a formal design and then send out a call for tenders or to bring in a contractor up front to formulate a design and work towards a budget that way.

“One’s more traditional where you send the finished design out for bids and whatever price you get, you take the low one. And the other one is to say ‘Ok, here’s our budget, we’ve got an architect, let’s bring on a builder and let’s work on how we can build to that budget,’” said Pelletier.

He said the division would like to see construction begin in six to eight months.

Chinook’s Edge School Division is to build a new school in Sylvan Lake. The decision on hiring an architect for the job still needs to be made by the board.

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