Despite forecasting record spending, debt and provincial sales tax revenues over the next year, the Saskatchewan government does not have plans in its 2024-25 budget to fund a new high school for Emerald Park or White City.
Prairie Valley School Division had previously removed the request from the list of top three capital priorities it submitted to the provincial government ahead of this year’s budget, which was released March 20.
In a March 4 phone interview with Grasslands News, PVSD board chair Janet Kotylak said that list now consists of relocatable classrooms for elementary schools in Pilot Butte and Lumsden, as well as a school consolidation project in Grenfell.
“It didn’t make our top three but it’s still an important priority for our school division,” said Kotylak. “We still want to see a new White City-Emerald Park high school to support students in that growing community and of course as you know we put forward three projects because that’s our requirement and it was pushed down the list by more pressing needs in our division.”
Data provided by Prairie Valley shows those schools at 111 and 110 per cent respectively. The next-most crowded schools in the division were Emerald Ridge Elementary School (also 110 per cent), Vibank Regional School (107 per cent) and Ecole White City School (97 per cent).
Further, the student population at Pilot Butte Elementary School grew 57 per cent from Sept. 30, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2023, with 526 students enrolled there as of that date last year.
Kotylak cited “multiple code issues and accessibility problems” that “need to be urgently addressed” in explaining the division’s revamped priority list.
“We know that we can’t make minor renovations to address those serious safety and accessibility issues and they’re just getting worse over time,” she said.
PVSD’s request for proposals from potential builders closed Thursday and the successful bidder(s) will be obligated to deliver the classrooms to their respective sites by June 30.
Prairie Valley also plans to award a $20 million contract in April for expansion and modernization of Balgonie’s Greenall School.
That project is one of three major school renovations the government announced funding for in this year’s budget.
The submission deadline from prospective contractors for Greenall also passed Thursday, with PVSD anticipating a contract start date of April 22. Construction, Kotylak added, would then begin in 2025.
Greenall’s enrolment as of Sept. 30, 2013, was 741, up 13 per cent from five years prior.
“If that school was built from scratch today it would be 35 per cent larger,” said Kotylak. “There is clearly a need for more space, but those spaces are in areas that are both operational and programming. So when we’re looking at modernization of that school we’re looking at performing arts space, visual arts, student support, gymnasium, outdoor learning and various other programming needs.”
The division’s RFP notes that Greenall was built in 1960 and was previously renovated in 1975, 1983 and 2010. Further, the impending renovation and expansion project is expected to support the school’s needs for at least the next 30 years.
Beyond the areas mentioned by Kotylak, a preliminary list of work to be completed as part of the project according to the RFP includes structural upgrades to the school’s roof, ductwork upgrades, electrical modernization, flooring upgrades, parking and drainage enhancements, and development of new student common areas and a staff resource and administration room.
“Our average age of our buildings is over 60 years old,” said Kotylak. “Our newest school is 10 years old – Emerald Ridge – so things are just getting more and more problematic, more urgent. As well, of course, we have that growing area closer to Regina and so that area around Regina is now experiencing some overcapacity issues and those overcapacity issues are also happening in older buildings.
“So the problem is twofold. They’re growing and they’re not new buildings.”

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