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New schools good news, but PCs not on schedule to complete projects by 2016: McAllister

EDMONTON, AB (December 16, 2013): Today’s announcement of new classrooms in Edmonton and Calgary are long overdue, but the PC government is a long way from keeping its promise of building 50 new schools and completing 70 modernizations before 2016, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today.  

The typical school takes an average of three years to build.  Of all the schools previously announced, none have seen shovels in the ground at last check.  McAllister said it is hard to believe with the way  Albertans have been saturated with a PR campaign from the Premier’s office.  “I’m thrilled to hear Calgary, Edmonton, For McMurray, Grande Prairie and Grimshaw will all be getting the new schools they desperately need and have long been waiting for,” McAllister said. “However, the sad reality is the government is not honouring its commitment to Albertans.  During the electing campaign, the Premier and all PC candidates ran on a promise to build 50 schools and renovate 70 more this term. They continue to make announcements, but signs and photo ops don’t magically turn into classrooms.”  The Wildrose 10-Year Debt-Free Capital Plan commits to giving our students the space they need by building 100 new schools over the next 10 years.  McAllister pointed to the government’s plan to build new school through sole-sourced, untendered bulk P3 contracts as one reason projects are being delayed.  “The government’s tendering process is resulting in delays and the possibility of seeing costs go through the roof,” McAllister said.  “Our kids need these schools and today’s announcement is a good step, but these delays all seem to indicate they will not be built on time.”  The Wildrose report, A Better Way to Build Alberta, recommends ending the practice of debt financing P3s, using design-build procurement when the size and nature of the project warrants, and returning to traditional design-bid-build procurements on projects below a certain threshold.