06/15/2015 03:40 EDT | Updated 06/15/2016 05:59 EDT

Consortium named as private partner to build 9 schools in Saskatoon, Regina

SASKATOON - The Saskatchewan government has announced its private partner in building schools across the province this summer.

Education Minister Don Morgan says the partnership will mean nine joint-usage schools, which is the equivalent of 18 new schools.

He says that's room for about 11,000 more students.

The schools were announced in October 2013 and three proponents bid on the project.

After analysis and cost calculations, Joint Use Mutual Partnership was chosen for six schools in Saskatoon and area and three in Regina.

SaskBuilds Minister Gordon Wyant says those construction contracts are still being worked out but there will be an incentive for the group to finish by September 2017.

"The construction contracts will be very specific that they need to be built on time and on budget. There is financial penalties in the contracts," Wyant said. "There is significant incentive for them to complete the projects in the time frames we set."

Preliminary work to ready the sites will begin in the next couple weeks but construction will not start until contract negotiations and final designs are complete.

Wyant says a conventional approach wouldn't have gotten 9 new joint-use schools ready by the fall of 2017.

An early works agreement has been signed to allow design work, site mobilization and utility connections to start while the government hammers out a final contract with the group.