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Manitoba to build new schools through public-private partnership

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A new school in Waverley West will be ready to welcome its first students in September.

Bison Run School is one of nine schools the Manitoba government is building through a public-private partnership. It will have a capacity of 800 students.

“The south end of Winnipeg is one of the fastest growing communities in all of Manitoba, so this new campus will ensure that parents in the south end can expect high-quality education and infrastructure for their children,” said education and early childhood learning minister Wayne Ewasko at a news conference Friday.

The province initially rejected this funding model in 2019.

However, government services minister James Teitsma says this partnership allowed the schools to be built quickly and at optimal value.

He noted details of the partnership will be worked out, but one of the provisions will see the private sector bid on both the building and maintenance of the schools.

“Now we’re going to be building the remaining six schools that we initially committed to and an additional three schools, and we’re going to do that as a cost-effective, bundled approach, effectively as a single project to allow optimal value and allow all these schools to be operational by 2027. That is two years before we had originally scheduled,” he said.

The province notes the bundled procurement model has also been used in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Six of the new schools were part of a 2019 promise and are to be located in Winnipeg and Brandon.

They will include two kindergarten to Grade 8 schools and child-care facilities in the Pembina Trails School Division, a kindergarten to Grade 12 French school and child-care centre in Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine, two kindergarten to Grade 8 schools and child-care facilities in Seven Oaks School Division and a kindergarten to Grade 8 school and child-care centre in Brandon School Division.

The other three are a Grade 9 to 12 vocational school and child-care centre in Beautiful Plains School Division headquartered in Neepawa, a kindergarten to Grade 8 school and child-care centre in River East Transcona School Division and a Grade 9 to 12 vocational school and child-care centre in Seine River School Division.

The Tories initially studied private partnerships in 2018, but opted to build five schools the traditional way and said it would save money.

- With files from the Canadian Press

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