New school year – more progress on infrastructure – MLA

More than 12,000 students filled the classrooms, hallways and gymnasiums of an unprecedented 18 new elementary and elementary-junior high schools this school year as a result of government’s largest-ever new schools project.

The schools were ready for students and staff in Edmonton and Calgary through government’s innovative Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement (ASAP) phase I project. The project addressed a need for new schools in rapidly growing areas of the metro cities. Originally announced in June 2007, the schools were completed ahead of schedule and at a cost savings of $97 million to taxpayers.

This project introduced the concept of a core school design, which includes high-performance modular classrooms that can be added or removed to meet fluctuations in student enrolment. The schools are designed to achieve a minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standard and include a 30-year maintenance warranty.

Work has commenced on an additional 10 elementary-junior and middle schools, as well as four high schools through the ASAP II project. ASAP II will create almost 13,000 additional student spaces and address rapid student population growth in six Alberta communities. Construction on the schools is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2012.

Also this school year, more than 20 other school infrastructure projects are expected to be completed throughout the province.

St. Anthony’s School in Drumheller is on the list for the Drumheller-Stettler Constituency.

For more information on government’s ASAP projects, visit: www.education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/p3project.aspx

$30M available through Rural Alberta’s Development Fund

As Alberta moves into the second decade of the 21st century it is vitally important that rural Alberta continues to be vibrant and strong. Rural Alberta’s Development Fund (RADF) is helping to make that happen by investing $30 million over the next 18 months in innovative rural programs.

The non-profit company was launched in 2006 by the Government of Alberta as part of its rural development strategy. RADF was provided with $100 million and a mandate to support rural communities, regional alliances and organizations in kick starting projects that would contribute to the betterment of rural Alberta.

The organization began accepting funding applications again on August 6, 2010. Any non-profit organization with an idea or project that will help rural Alberta to grow and prosper is invited to apply. However, the board of directors is placing an emphasis on supporting projects that build community capacity in rural communities of 20,000 or less.

Funding from $50,000 to $5 million is available but applicants must provide at least 25 percent of the total cost of the project. Project criteria and guidelines and expression of interest forms are available at www.ruralalbertasfund.com or by calling toll free 1-877-940-7233.

So far RADF has committed $74 million to support 67 projects across rural Alberta. These projects range from rural health and wellness to education to economic development to culture, sports, recreation and the arts.

As the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of my constituency offices at Stettler 403-742-4284; Hanna 403-854-4333; Drumheller 403-823-8181, or in my legislature office at 780-427-2137.

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