MB building nine new schools under public-private partnership

By: Q Country/Star FM News
Posted: March 27, 2023 09:06

One will be built in Beautiful Plains School Division in Neepawa

Image - File Photo

The Manitoba government announced last week it'll complete a promise to construct 20 schools in 10 years two years ahead of schedule.   

Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko said in a media release, ""In 2019, we promised to build 20 new schools in 10 years. Today, 14 of these schools are already in progress or completed. To meet the growing needs of students, we are going above and beyond our commitment and will deliver a total of 23 new schools two years sooner than originally planned. This is great news for students and their families."

Government Services Minister James Teitsma said, "The Manitoba government is building the remaining six schools from the 20-school commitment in addition to three more schools through a bundled public-private partnership procurement. The approach we are taking will enable all nine of the remaining new schools to be operational by 2027, two years ahead of schedule."

The bundled procurement model, applied successfully in recent years in Alberta and Saskatchewan, will allow the Manitoba government to build the nine schools through a single tender and thereby complete the construction faster and with optimal value, Teitsma added. "Each of these schools will be top quality and will meet or exceed provincial design standards," said Teitsma.

The nine publicly funded, owned and operated new schools have been determined on a priority basis and will be constructed and operational by September 2027. The six remaining schools planned through the 2019 commitment include:

- two kindergarten to Grade 8 schools and child-care facilities in Pembina Trails School Division;
- a kindergarten to Grade 12 French school and child-care centre in Division scolaire franco-manitobaine;
- two kindergarten to Grade 8 schools and child-care facilities in Seven Oaks School Division; and
- a kindergarten to Grade 8 school and child-care centre in Brandon School Division.

The additional three schools planned on top of the 2019 commitment include:

- a Grade 9 to 12 vocational school and child-care centre in Beautiful Plains School Division;
- a kindergarten to Grade 8 school and child-care centre in River East Transcona School Division; and
- a Grade 9 to 12 vocational school and child-care centre in Seine River School Division.

Of the 14 schools previously announced, seven are in operation and have welcomed new students, while seven are at the design stage or under construction.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents school support staff, bus drivers and other workers, told Global News the public-private model - often called a P3 - is a bad idea. “We have looked at evidence across Canada and we know that P3 schools are less accountable and will cost more,” CUPE Manitoba president Gina McKay said.

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