Edmonton and Calgary Catholic school districts will receive four out of 15 new schools planned for the province.
The Alberta government announced Feb. 10 that a new kindergarten to Grade 9 school will be built in Summerside in southeast Edmonton, making room for up to 750 Edmonton Catholic Separate School District students.
"It will take the pressure off St. Clement and St. Richard which are at 90 per cent and 118 per cent utilization. It's a very high Catholic area, so we needed another school there really badly," said a happy Edmonton Catholic board chair Cindy Olsen.
"We may consider putting in a dual-track French immersion according to the needs of the community," she said.
Olsen said the Edmonton district is pleased that the school will be for kindergarten to Grade 9 since it will allow siblings to attend the same school.
"It also allows the ability to form partnerships, co-operate and mentor."
Olsen added, "We are just really happy with the announcement. The government listened. We needed it. We are working together so our kids can have the best possible Catholic education."
Calgary Catholic schools will receive three of the 10 new schools in that city – a K to Grade 6 school in the Cranston area (600 students), another K to Grade 6 school in New Brighton-Copperfield (600 students), and a Grade 10 to 12 high school (1,500 students).
'They are all in the deep southeast," says Calgary Catholic Board chair Mary Martin. Calgary Catholic really has had explosive growth, said Martin. "Provincially, they expect two per cent growth in school districts. Calgary Catholic had 4.2 per cent."
"We used to get 600 new students a year, she said. Two years ago that number sky rocketed. Now we are seeing about 2,000 new students a year."
Alberta, with its oil and gas jobs, services for families with unique needs and English language training in its metro areas "is certainly a province people like to come to," Martin said.
"It's been challenging to keep up in terms of infrastructure."