Finance Minister Joe Ceci was in Calgary on Tuesday where he laid out the province's plans for four new schools in Calgary and the modernization of a fifth.

"Schools are more than just places that students come for an education," Ceci said. "They are also community centres and meeting places and they are vital to continually renewing our neighbourhoods, towns and communities across Alberta."

The Calgary Board of Education will see three new schools; Cranston Elementary School, Calgary Evergreen Elementary School and Coventry Hills Elementary School.

The Calgary Catholic School Board will see one new schools in the city, Auburn Bay Elementary School.

Forest Lawn High School will also undergo modernization within the next four years, the goverment has promised.

$500M in new funding for the schools was announced in the budget that was released last week.

"This is absolutely new money and it will be spent to employ 6,000 people to work on projects throughout the province. There is a dire need because of the growing province that we have and it's going to be growing faster than the national average."

The institutions are part of the NDP government’s plan to build or modernize 24 schools throughout the province.

Officials also say that they will address enrolment pressures in the fast-growing urban centres of Calgary, Edmonton, Airdrie and Lethbridge.

"Some schools are bursting at the seams while others are in dire need of retrofitting," Ceci said. "There are still some communities that need a school that don't have one at all."

He said that the new schools come from a list of priority projects from each of the school boards in Alberta and money for the project will come as different construction milestones are met.

"That's so we can make sure that there is accountability for those dollars."

He said that in addition to the student spaces, 6,000 direct and indirect jobs willl be created by all of the new schools throughout the province.

"We will be upfront with Albertans about when these schools will be completed. Some of these schools will be ready in 2021 and others will be ready soon."

The other new schools and modernizations in southern Alberta are:

  • Airdrie Elementary Core School (Airdrie, Calgary Catholic Board of Education)
  • New West Airdrie (Airdrie, Rocky View Schools)
  • Banff Elementary School Phase 2 (Banff, Canadian Rockies Regional Division, replacement)
  • Huntsville School (Iron Springs, Palliser Regional Schools, replacement)
  • South Lethbridge Elementary School (Lethbridge, Lethbridge School District)
  • Ecole Les Cypres (Medicine Hat, Conseil scolaire FrancoSud, replacement)

Construction for the schools is expected to begin in 2018.

Ceci said that next year, another batch of schools will be announced that will again target the priority needs of each school board.