Nine new Saskatchewan schools designed to be used jointly by Catholic and public boards are to be built using public-private partnership funding.
The province says the decision to go with the P3 model was made after consultations with outside experts.
The province will put out project descriptions for two bundles of schools to attract potential bidders — a maximum of three companies will be chosen to submit proposals.
One bundle will include three schools to be built in Regina; the other includes four schools in Saskatoon, one school in Martensville and one in Warman.
Construction is expected to begin next summer and finish in time for classes in September 2017.
The province says the projected cost to build the schools won’t be known until a builder is selected.
“Financial analysis, conducted by external experts, demonstrated that a P3 model will deliver the best value for Saskatchewan taxpayers,” Gordon Wyant, minister responsible for SaskBuilds, said in a release Thursday.
In June, the Alberta government announced it was dropping plans to finance 19 new schools using a P3 partnership. The province said it would cost $14 million more to do that than to use traditional financing.
Saskatchewan’s NDP Opposition has been suggesting Premier Brad Wall’s government should follow Alberta’s lead.
A joint-use school is one where public and Catholic students could share things such as gymnasiums, practical and applied arts spaces, band rooms or daycares, but still have their own teaching space and staff. The idea is to share maintenance costs and save money.