P3 funding pulled on proposed Davisburg school

Education: CTR-Catholic still hoping for fall 2016 opening

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 11:38 am

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Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools anticipates a proposed K-9 school in Davisburg will be ready close to its scheduled Fall 2016 opening despite the Province altering funding for the building of 19 schools in Alberta.

The government announced on June 18 it would not use the P3 (Public-Private Partnership) to fund 19 proposed new schools, including the Catholic school division’s Davisburg School, because the private P3 bid was too high.

“We still have the funding and we still have the school,” said Scott Morrison, Christ the Redeemer superintendent of schools. “The difference being is instead of working with the successful P3 company, we will work with Alberta Infrastructure and build it ourselves.’”

He said that is a similar format as to what was done before the P3 formula came into affect in June of 2007.

“There is a chance we can still open in the fall of 2016,” Morrison said.

He said fortunately the architectural designs are virtually done.

“We’re happy with design and we are sticking with it,” Morrison said. “Our plans are 85 per cent done. Our intent is to get them finished and do whatever they tell us to get it done. Just use the plan, get it tendered and get it built.”

Christine Way, Alberta Infrastructure spokeswoman, said the bid to build the 19 schools through the P3 program came in at $570.7 million, some $14-million more than what it would have cost to do if the pre-P3 format was used.

The cost to the Davisburg school is estimated at $16-million.

According to Way, when potential proponents are an independent consultant is hired to determine what it would cost the government to do the same project with traditional methods of funding.

“That is basically the number the P3 proponent has to beat,” she said. “In this case they did not beat that number, they exceeded it by $14-million… We would not be responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars if we went with that bid.”

She said to her knowledge this is the first time the proponents’ bid came in higher than the consultants.

Way could not give a definitive date as to when the Davisburg school would open.

“We do need to tender the projects and once we have done that we will have a better idea which school will be delivered on time and which ones might be delayed,” she said.

“There could be a few on that list that are delivered in the first of 2017, but that would be speculation at this point.”

She does not anticipate any legal challenges to delay the projects.

“We have followed the process,” she said. “We have the right to reject those bids.”

Way said this will not mean the end of the P3 process as it has been beneficial in building schools and roads in the past.

bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca


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