The first day of the school year for many Saskatchewan students coincided with 20 new P3 schools opening across the province. It’s the single largest school construction project in the province’s history.
More than 11,000 students converged on 18 schools built on joint-use sites across the province. Those include four locations in Saskatoon, three in Regina and one each in Martensville and Warman.
In Regina, Connaught School and Scott Collegiate held grand re-openings with the old schools relocating into brand new buildings.
Julia Vincent, a Grade 5 student at St. Kateri Tekawitha, recently moved to Saskatoon with her family. She’s new to the community but she joins the entire student population in starting fresh at a new school.
“It’s a really really beautiful school and it’s really new,” said Vincent.
30-year contract governs decor, use of new schools
Joint-use schools consist of a public and Catholic school located in the same building, with each school operated by its own school division. Each site features a community daycare between the Catholic and public facilities.
For the first time, each of the 20 new schools opening today was built under a public-private partnership, commonly known as the P3 model.
Over the next 30 years, Saskatchewan taxpayers will pay $635 million for the schools, which covers both their construction and ongoing maintenance, with schools intended to be kept in “like new” condition over the duration of the contract.
No thumbtacks or tape will be used on the walls of the new schools. Teachers need permission before any holes can go in walls and they can’t open the windows until the ventilation system has run for the first year.
Chloe Dingwall, who is in Grade 4 at St. Kateri Tekakwitha, said she was “very excited” to be at the new building.
“The teachers are very nice,” Dingwall said. “It’s very, very shiny and the furniture is actually brand new to the school.”
Almost all the students at St. Kateri and Chief Whitecap used to be bused across a…