Two new Cochrane schools are among the top 10 capital priorities of Rocky View Schools (RVS).

A new K to 8 in Heartland is fifth on the list and a new high school by the future Horse Creek Sports Park is sixth. Funding is sought for both in the 2026 provincial budget. 

In its 2025-2028 capital plan, RVS details the challenges being faced in Cochrane and the rationale for the two new schools. 

In Heartland, they are seeking a 950-capacity elementary/middle school to be constructed on an eight-acre site on Heartland Way between Morgan St. and Saddlebred Link. The division says development would reduce enrolment pressures across the entire north portion of the town and significantly improve the current situation for Heartland students.

If approved, the earliest it would open is 2030. If not approved, RVS expects occupancy to increase to 94 per cent for elementary/middle schools, taking into consideration the construction of the Rivercrest School.

The new school is projected to have an opening enrolment of more than 425 students leaving the other area schools at 85 per cent utilization. In five years, the projected enrolment would be more than 500 students in 2036.

The division is requesting a new high school with a capacity for 1,230 students. If approved in 2026, the earliest it's projected to open is 2031 and would ease pressure on Bow Valley and Cochrane high schools.

Without it, RVS is expecting utilization of the two Cochrane high schools to reach 151 per cent.

"Even with the approved addition at Bow Valley, growth is outpacing capacity in Cochrane," states the report. "The addition allows space for about 300 more students, but projected enrolments will exceed overall high school capacity once again by 2026 when RVS’ Cochrane schools will be back up to 103 per cent utilization.

"The preferred solution would be to start the planning and subsequent design and construction tendering documents for a new high school in Cochrane as soon as possible, with construction funding coming within the next two years."

Topping the list is funding for a new high school in Airdrie in 2025. The division is also seeking funding for a new K-8 school in Airdrie, and a high school and K-9 in Chestermere in next year's budget.

Rounding out the 2026 request are a K-9 in Chestermere and K-8 in Crossfield.

In 2027, RVS is seeking funding for new middle schools in both Springbank and Airdrie.

Despite recent government approval of construction funding, school utilization is projected to continue to rise due to ongoing population growth in RVS’ fastest-growing communities of Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere.

RVS officials state funding approval for new schools, additions and modular classrooms have failed to keep pace with rising enrolment and will continue to advocate for urgently needed new schools.

On. Mar. 14, Alberta Education approved nine new modular units and relocation of one washroom unit in the division. It had sought 22 new modular units and the relocation of another 12 classrooms and one washroom unit to mitigate ongoing enrolment growth until the new schools can be built.