Good news came down the pipes today for K-9 catholic school students in Cochrane.

The pandemic will not interfere with the construction of a new school to replace the leased and aging Holy Spirit School on 1st St. E.

Today, Alberta Infrastructure minister Prasad Panda announced five new schools across the province that will begin construction in September.

The replacement for Holy Spirit, to be located the northwest corner of Fireside Pwy. and Fireside Dr., will accommodate 800 students and is scheduled to open in September 2022.

The total cost for the five schools is estimated to be $100 million and is expected to create approximately 560 construction jobs.

Panda says completing shovel-ready projects has been made a priority in the economic downturn.

He states in a press release, "We are working hard to identify shovel-ready projects, accelerate processes, and get construction underway as quickly as possible.”

Funding for the school was announced last November.

At that time, Calgary Catholic School District vice-chairman Linda Wellman explained the lease on the existing building has expired and won't be renewed.

"While we're delighted to get this space for Cochrane, it does nothing to eliminate the pressures from growth, because this is actually a replacement school."

Replacing the Holy Spirit school was the number two priority for CCSD in its 2020-21 capital plan. A new Airdrie catholic high school has long been its top priority, but the district has been unable to secure the land required.

Last November, the construction of 15 new schools were announced by the province. Another six were slated for replacement, and four were to receive modernization or additions.

Recently, the Rocky View School Division named doubling the capacity of the Bow Valley High School as its top priority in its 2021-2023 capital plan.

The division's number three priority is a new K to Grade 5 school in Cochrane.