PSD Expresses Disappointment Over Exclusion of Construction Funding in Budget 2024

Construction, Spruce Grove Composite High School

March 4, 2024 - Parkland School Division has voiced its disappointment following the recent Budget 2024 announcement by the Alberta Government, which omitted the much-needed construction funding for the replacement of Spruce Grove Composite High School. Despite the government's commitment to addressing the growing demands on educational infrastructure in Alberta, the latest budget has left the Spruce Grove community waiting for further action.

For several years, the replacement of Spruce Grove Composite High School has been at the top of Parkland School Division's capital request list. The division had repeatedly emphasized the project's urgency in its annual submissions to Alberta Education, with cost estimates for the replacement school hovering between $70-80 million.

In Budget 2023 a year ago, the design funding was awarded, intended for the preparation of construction tender documents, including drawings and specifications, signifying the initial step towards replacing the aging facility. This phase has been completed following extensive community engagement, work with an internal design team in consultation with the architect firm, The Workun Garrick Partnership and Alberta Infrastructure. This includes a conceptual site plan for the current school property as well as a schematic layout of the three-story, state-of-the art facility that will expand the school’s capacity to 1,910. However, with no construction funding allocated in the recent budget, the division and community members are left uncertain about when the replacement will actually begin.

The need for a new high school is underscored by the steady population growth in Spruce Grove and the consequent enrolment pressures. The school opened the current 2023-2024 over 100% capacity. Furthermore, factoring in projected enrolment figures for grades 7, 8, and 9 in recent years, without a new school, capacity could soar to 120% by September 2025. Considering the lead time to build a new school, overcrowding will be a concern.

“In light of the recent budget announcement, PSD remains committed to advocating for the necessary funding to commence construction on the much needed replacement school,” emphasized Board Chair, Lorraine Stewart. “Although we appreciate the advocacy of Minister Searle Turton, the division calls upon the Alberta Government to reconsider its decision and prioritize the construction funding in future budgets to meet the pressing needs of the Spruce Grove community and its students.”

“Parkland School Division has always maintained that addressing space constraints is essential for accommodating current and future student needs, as well as for ensuring a conducive learning environment,” stated Superintendent Shauna Boyce. “The division's goal is to provide adequate and equitable educational facilities that can support the diverse needs of our students as we strive for our Ultimate Goal: Student Success & Well-being.”

“It is unfortunate that after a year’s work on design plans, we won’t be seeing the result any time soon,” said Principal Cheryl Otto. “However, the staff of SGCHS are committed to doing our BEST for our students, regardless of which building the learning happens. BEST meaning Build Excellence and Success, Together.”

“I was shocked, I definitely think it’s long overdue for the City of Spruce Grove to have a new high school“, said SGCHS School Council Chair Meg Dmytry. “It’s sad for the teachers, all the admin, the students and for the parents, it is definitely needed. You can’t underestimate what a new school can do for morale and the culture being built at a school.”

For more information, contact:

Parkland School Division
Phone: 780-963-4010

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