Premier Brad Wall announced funding for 18 new elementary schools Tuesday in Saskatoon.

These new schools will be built in areas of the province experiencing rapid growth, including Saskatoon, Regina, Warman, and Martensville.

Half of the new schools will be a part of public school divisions, and half will be in Catholic school divisions. The schools will be built as “joint-use” schools, allowing with two divisions to share space.

The new schools will be funded through public private partnerships, or P3s. The government says  P3 funding model will allow the province to build more schools in less time and at a cost saving.

“Saskatchewan is experiencing remarkable growth across the province, and some of it is right in the classroom,” said Wall. “We need to meet the challenges of growth and have adequate infrastructure in place. This approach will put our students first, provide them with the best learning environments, and do so much quicker than government could build schools the conventional way.”

The New Democrats however, believe the schools should be built solely by public funds.

“We should be building the schools we need. We should be building them today, and they should be publicly funded,” said Trent Wotherspoon, the NDP’s education critic.

Of the 18 new schools, two will be built in Martensville, two in Warman, six in Regina, and eight in Saskatoon. This announcement is welcome news to Ray Morrison, chair of the Saskatoon public school rivision.

“Saskatoon Public Schools have seen unprecedented growth in the last few years,” said Morrison. “With new neighbourhoods being built, we need to ensure we can provide the right facilities to support learning students.”

The schools being built in Saskatoon are being planned for the Evergreen, Hampton Village, Rosewood, and Stonebridge neighbourhoods. The schools in Regina are being planned for the Harbour Landing, Northwest, and Southeast neighbourhoods.

The 2013 provincial budget set aside $120 million to maintain existing schools and respond to the need for additional space.