At the March 14, 2017 public board meeting, the Calgary Board of Education Board of Trustees approved the Three-Year School Capital Plan 2018-2021 requesting 20 new schools and 11 major modernizations from the Provincial Government.
“We continue to see enrolment growth across our schools and programs. Despite the new schools that were opened this year, it is vital that additional schools and modernizations be approved to help us keep up with growth and continue to offer quality learning opportunities for our students,” said Joy Bowen-Eyre, Board Chair.
This school year the CBE opened 15 new schools and two replacement facilities for Christine Meikle and Elbow Park schools; as well, it completed modernizations at Bowness and Jack James high schools to upgrade career and technology (CT) learning spaces for students. A third modernization was also completed at the former Harold W. Riley School site that is now the home of the new Aboriginal Learning Centre.
These new learning spaces have brought the overall system utilization rate to 82 per cent for the 2016-17 school year. However, the CBE forecasts an enrolment increase in the next five years from our current 119,147 students to 130,404 students. If additional schools are not approved, it is projected the system utilization rate will rise again to 86 per cent by the 2021-22 school year.
The newest plan identifies a single prioritized capital list consisting of both new school construction and major modernization requests, as required by Alberta Education. The total cost of all of the projects is over $585 million.
The Calgary Board of Education doesn’t decide when new schools are built. The Provincial Government determines where, when and how new schools are built. Each year, school boards submit a Three-Year School Capital Plan to Alberta Education. The plan identifies priorities for new school construction and major modernizations.
“The plan puts an increased priority on major modernizations for our junior and senior high schools to upgrade these aging facilities and ensure they are able to offer students enhanced Career and Technology Foundations and Studies programming.” said Dany Breton, superintendent Facilities and Environmental Services.
In 2014 the Board of Trustees approved revised ranking criteria for school capital projects after a thorough review of the criteria, including a public engagement. The criteria are data driven and establish a fair and equitable process for all communities.
The final plan needs to be submitted to Alberta Education by April 1, 2017.
The CBE currently has five additional capital projects and two high school major modernizations under development.