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New school expected to reduce over-crowding issues

13.03.2018 10:08
By: Cam Hallas

BSD officials elated with Monday's budget announcement

Brandon, MB (CKLQ) - Board members with the Brandon School Division are thrilled that the city will be receiving funding for a new school.

In Monday's 2018 budget release by the Manitoba Government, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said the province is increasing education funding by $13.7-million.

With a total $100-million investment, the province said work will begin on five new schools in Manitoba over the next two years, including a kindergarten to grade 8 facility in Southeast Brandon.

Board Chair with BSD, Linda Ross said money for a new school will help make more room for students in the city.

According to Ross, BSD schools are at over-capacity, and this will help even things out across Brandon.

"For that community, it means the children in that area will be able to attend a local school within walking distance. Right now, we're busing about 400 kids out of that area to various schools in Brandon," said Ross.

The province estimates Brandon's newest school will have a door-opening capacity of about 450 students, and 675 with a future expansion.

The school will have 74 child-care spaces.

The province had previously announced in 2017 a plan to explore the possibility of building 4 new schools in Manitoba using the P3 partnership model.

The province said in Monday's budget announcement that by using the conventional Public Schools Finance Board approach, it will be able to save $18-million to fund the construction of one additional school.

Ross said she supports the decision to stay away from a P3 school, and questions its cost-effectiveness.

"We're thrilled that the government reconsidered the P3 option, and kudos to them for doing their due diligence and looking at the pros and cons. We are just very, very excited," said Ross.

With funding now in place, Ross said priorities will now shift to planning and developing.

"Probably it will be a year before we see shovels in the ground, but I would be happy if somehow that could be expedited. That would be my expectation because I know it takes work to get tenders out and get design work done and that kind of stuff."

The province will also build another four schools in Winnipeg with this year's budget allowance.