Manitoba to spend over $260 million on schools
By Adam FreillConstruction Institutional
Province’s pledge for 2023-24 school year aims to meet growing enrolment needs and improve learning environments.
The Manitoba government plans to spend $260 million for school capital projects during the 2023-24 school year. In making the announcement, Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister James Teitsma and Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko called the funding an investment in the province’s youth.
“With growing communities, Manitoba families need quality schools to meet the education needs of our children and youth,” said Teitsma. “These investments in school capital projects will ensure that Manitoba schools keep up with growing enrolment and that our schools continue to be essential parts of our education system and the wider community.”
Plans call for more than $90 million in renovations and additions, $104 million for new schools and $66 million for existing infrastructure renewal.
“Manitoba students need the best possible environments to learn, grow and reach their full potential,” said Ewasko. “These investments in school capital projects will help our schools give Manitoba children and their families high-quality educational experiences and provide the resources that students need to get the most out of their education.”
School projects that will be in progress in 2023-24 would increase school space by over one million square feet. Through additions and new school buildings, the projects will create 375 new classrooms, as well as specialized and multi-purpose learning spaces, such as gymnasiums, libraries and spaces for vocational learning, Ewasko added.
“With immigration and economic growth increasing the need for new and upgraded schools, the local construction industry is ready to provide the province with top-notch learning environments for the next generation to learn and thrive in,” said Ron Hambley, president of the Winnipeg Construction Association. “These projects are an investment in the future of our province and will provide hundreds of local jobs during construction.”
Teitsma added that since 2019, the Manitoba government has committed over $900 million in school capital investments, including 14 new schools that are part of the 2019-20 new schools guarantee. Half of those institutes are now open and operating. The remaining seven are in various stages of design or construction, or will be completed in 2023-24. That represents 70 per cent of the original new schools commitment, Teitsma noted.
“On behalf of the board of trustees, I would like to thank the Manitoba government for this investment,” said Colleen Carswell, board chair of the River East Transcona School Division. “The new gymnasium and additional classrooms will be of great assistance as we strive to meet the needs of our ever-growing student population.”
Nine schools are on track to be completed by 2027 and will be bundled within a public-private partnership delivery model. The bundled procurement model, applied in recent years in Alberta and Saskatchewan, will allow the Manitoba government to build the new schools through a single tender and thereby complete the construction faster and with optimal value, Teitsma noted.