Skip to content

Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Guthrie thrilled with new schools builds in Cochrane, Airdrie and Chestermere

Alberta Minister of Instructure Guthrie credited the ongoing advocacy efforts of local officials for keeping the needs of Airdrie, Cochrane and Rocky View top of mind for his government.
Airdrie-Cochrane MLA and Alberta Infrastructure minister Peter Guthrie.

Airdrie-Cochrane MLA and Alberta Minister of Infrastructure Peter Guthrie was thrilled to stand beside Premier Danielle Smith and Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides when they made the announcement on Friday that four new K-8 schools would receive full construction funding to be built in Cochrane, Airdrie and Chestermere in the near future. Nicolaides also announced design funding for an additional new public high school in Airdrie, and a new K-9 public school in Chestermere in the 2024 budget, both of which will be built at a future time.

“I was really happy to be a part of this, both the announcement and also being in a unique position to be the Infrastructure minister that gets an opportunity to build them,” Guthrie told the Cochrane Eagle in a telephone interview shortly after the announcement on Friday.

Guthrie said it was no secret that these schools were much-needed in his riding and in Airdrie-East these past several years as the province’s overall population has ballooned.

“Our area, that donut around Calgary, has seen a lot of that growth,” he stated. “And not just last year, but in previous years. We have been working hard with the local municipalities and the school boards to drive that message through, of the need. In last year’s budget, Rocky View Schools was awarded four of their top five school (priorities), including a couple in Airdrie and one in Chestermere, one in Cochrane, and we have a few schools that are beginning construction, including Bow Valley High School that is going to start construction this spring.”

Guthrie credited the ongoing advocacy efforts of local officials for keeping the needs of Cochrane, Airdrie and Rocky View top of mind for his government.

“In order to have these things come to fruition, it takes a lot of legwork,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and years to prep the land, and have the land availability. It’s up to the municipality and the school boards to provide that. From there, we have to sell it to our government. There are 87 ridings across the province; no one person can do that and drive that. There needs to be collaboration.

"It’s great to see us get to this point. There are still going to be some pressures, and we have a few years before all of these schools are up and running.”

Guthrie acknowledged more work was needed in the short term until the new schools are accepting students to fill the growth pressures facing local school divisions.

“I know we have schools that are stretched to the limit,” he stated. “There was 25 million additional dollars that was put into this budget already on top of the $25 million that was in there for modular classrooms. That’s $50 million we have allocated for this year. That’s for 2024-2025.

"The Minister of Education, I will be working with him to try to drive our narrative here, and make sure they understand our needs. And then as Infrastructure minister to build those units, and get them out to the communities when he approves them.”

Guthrie expected many more conversations on that score in the coming months, but said he was happy to celebrate this important win in getting new schools built in Cochrane, Airdrie and Chestermere.

“There is a lot of activity that is going on, and I am really happy,” he said. “When I moved to Cochrane in 2009, there were 15,000 people, and now we are somewhere around 38,000. So the growth is there, and we need it (new schools funding)-- it’s just a great day for it.”

Rocky View Schools (RVS) board chair Fiona Gilbert, who represents Cochrane as its trustee, also expressed to the media on Friday how thrilled she and her board colleagues were to get much needed new schools built in the division.

“These have been long-awaited as top priorities for RVS and are crucial for providing relief in our most crowded schools in Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere,” said Gilbert. “Today's announcement marks a positive step forward as we plan for the rapidly increasing student population in these communities.”

The K-8 school in Cochrane will be in Rivercrest.


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks