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Manitoba exploring P3 proposals to build four new schools

The goal is for the four Manitoba school projects to break ground in the 2019 construction season.


The province of Manitoba has released a competitive request for proposals (RFP) to develop a Public Private Partnership (P3) business case and financial advisory services for constructing four new schools with a total value of over $100 million. The deadline for submissions is June 15 with the contract to begin by Aug. 1.  The goal is for the four projects to break ground in the 2019 construction season.

“The P3 model has proved to be very successful across Canada and in Saskatchewan in particular for such projects,” said Premier Brian Pallister in a news release from the province.  “We owe it to taxpayers to consider how we can deliver high-quality services more cost-effectively.  Today’s RFP is the first step in this fully transparent, competitive process.”

The RFP will determine whether the project is suitable for P3 procurement by conducting the appropriate analyses and developing a business case and value-for-money, the premier said.  The RFP also includes building Manitoba’s internal P3 capacity and processes, which will be important to undertaking further such procurement, he added.  Once a business case has been developed, a request can be issued to potential private-sector consortiums to bid on the project to undertake the design and financial plan.

Four new schools (one kindergarten to Grade 5, two kindergarten to Grade 8 and one grades 9 to 12) in four individual school divisions, have been identified as priorities. Each of the schools will be designed to accommodate a child-care centre with 20 infant spaces and 54 preschool spaces, and schools will also be built to a LEED Gold standard.

Manitoba has used the traditional procurement model (design-bid-build) to deliver infrastructure projects for government-supported and government-owned infrastructure.  The government has typically funded 100% of facilities, either through capital grants or by making progress payments, and has also been responsible for virtually all of the project-related risks.

The P3 performance-based approach invites the private sector to assume a share of the risks in terms of financing and construction, and ensuring effective performance of the infrastructure, from design and planning to long-term maintenance.  However, the public sector retains ownership of the infrastructure, operates it and remains accountable for the services provided to citizens.

Additional reading:

Examples of P3 approaches taken for building schools in Nova Scotia and other provinces are highlighted in this  CBC article: “Public-private partnerships in other provinces offer lessons for Manitoba about what not to do“.