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Alberta government to fund new south Lethbridge elementary school

Click to play video: 'Alberta Budget 2018: What it means for Lethbridge' Alberta Budget 2018: What it means for Lethbridge
WATCH: As the dust begins to settle on Alberta Budget 2018, Lethbridge School District No. 51 is celebrating the construction of a new south-side elementary school. But as Joe Scarpelli tells us, Lethbridge's Catholic school division is "extremely disappointed" it has been left out – Mar 23, 2018

A day after the 2018 budget revealed 20 new schools are set to be built across the province, the Alberta government announced it will fund the construction of a new south Lethbridge elementary school.

Friday’s announcement was welcome news for Lethbridge School District No. 51.  Christine Lee, the associate superintendent of business affairs with the district, says funding for a new school in Lethbridge’s Southbrook subdivision has been a top priority since last year’s budget, citing a rapidly growing population.

“We’re pretty excited to have a new school on that side of Lethbridge,” Lee said.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2018: What’s in it for Calgary and Lethbridge

Construction is anticipated to begin this summer with the 600-student school expected to be ready for the fall of 2020.

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“It is the first school that will have been built in over 55 years in south Lethbridge,” Lee said.

The school is to feature photovoltaic solar energy panels to convert the sun’s energy to electricity.

Including solar panels, the estimated cost of construction is $14.3 million.

As part of the 2018 budget, he Alberta government announced almost $393 million dollars for 20 new schools across the province.

READ MORE: Coalbanks Elementary School selected as name for new Copperwood-area school

That plan doesn’t include a new west-side elementary school for the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and it’s not sitting well with its superintendent, Chris Smeaton.

“We’re extremely disappointed that we weren’t given a new school in west Lethbridge, which again is the highest growth area in Lethbridge and a significant need for us at Holy Spirit,” Smeaton said.

An Alberta Education spokesperson told Global News that funding for school projects are based on a priority system and the department determines provincial priorities for school projects using information provided in school authorities’ capital plans.

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