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Legal Francophone school construction pushed up

The school construction timeline is being accelerated in an effort to help stimulate the provincial economy.
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The current Legal School is located in a convent that was built in 1925.

The construction of a K-9 Francophone school in Legal is slated to begin in September.

On Tuesday morning, the province announced five schools will have construction begin in September, including one in Legal.

The school was announced in fall 2019 after the UCP's first provincial budget. Greater North Central Francophone Education Region board chair Tanya Saumure said in November that the board is thrilled to be getting a new school to replace École Citadelle.

“It feels amazing. It's really great because the parents have been waiting for over 15 years for their community,” Saumure said at the time.

The school construction timeline is being accelerated in an effort to help stimulate the provincial economy.

“Accelerating these five new school projects is an important part of Alberta’s plan to stimulate our economy. These new schools will provide our children with modern places to learn that will lay the foundation for their futures while also getting Albertans back to work,” Education Minister Adriana LaGrange stated in a press release.

Requests for proposals for the schools open on April 30. Between May and September, the successful applicant will be selected. Construction will begin in September and the schools are expected to open two years later in September 2022.

The new Legal school is one of five schools that was earmarked in November for possible delivery using a public-private partnership (known as P3s). In a press release, the provincial government said Alberta has successfully used P3s to deliver 40 schools, ring roads in Calgary and Edmonton and a water/wastewater treatment plant in Kananaskis Country. The projects save an estimated $2.2 billion over the cost of delivering projects through more traditional methods.

Currently, Legal's K-9 school is located in an old convent and the new funding for the school will get the students out of a building that was built in 1925. The new school will be located on the same land parcel as the Legal School, which was sold to the board from the Greater St. Albert Catholic board.

Because the current school is not being held in a space built to host kids, they don’t have features like a gymnasium built into the building. Right now, kids go to the community centre to have their gym classes. Saumure said the current condition of the building is restricting the ability of the school to be fully inclusive and accessible and Francophone education needs to be accessible to all students.

The Francophone school has 131 students enrolled from Legal, Morinville, Picardville, Gibbons, Bon Accord, Redwater, Namao, Busby, Vimy, Thorhild, Westlock and Clyde. Saumure said in November the board is not sure how big the new school will be or what its capacity will be.

The five schools represent an investment of $100 million and the projects will create around 560 construction jobs.

“Continued investment in public infrastructure projects like the construction of these five schools is an integral part of the government’s economic stimulus package to invest in needed infrastructure and get Albertans back to work. We are working hard to identify shovel-ready projects, accelerate processes and get construction underway as quickly as possible,” Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure said in a statement.


Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Newspapers based in St. Albert, Alta.
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