LONGUEUIL, QUE. -- Quebec is speeding up school construction projects, aiming to begin building the "next generation" of schools this year.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge made the announcement Thursday in Longueuil, saying $1.8 billion of a previously announced $3.7 billion dossier will be made available this school year to build 42 educational facilities and expand 31 existing schools.

Roberge also said that 15 reconstruction projects have been authorized this year for a total of $300 million.

"Many school buildings are in such poor condition that it will be faster, less expensive and safer to demolish and completely rebuild them," he said.

With two-thirds of Quebec schools in disrepair, the CAQ promised in February to build 20 new elementary schools and 16 new high schools by 2020, adding more than 1,000 classes to preschool and elementary schools, and more than 21,500 places to secondary school.

This "new generation" of schools will be adapted to new teaching methods, said Roberge, featuring common spaces to promote socialization and a sense of belonging for the school community.

The buildings will also have an 'architectural identity' that will highlight 'accents of blue' and materials from Quebec, mainly wood and aluminum. 

- With files from the Canadian Press