The Howard County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to reacquire property on Ducketts Lane in Elkridge for construction of an elementary school to help alleviate school overcrowding.
Board member Brian Meshkin noted that the county previously owned the property on Ducketts Lane just south of Kyle Leaf Court. Ken Roey, director of facilities for Howard County Public School System, confirmed the school system owned the land 20 years ago.
At the school board’s June 21 meeting, Roey said he believed it was possible to open a new elementary school on Ducketts Lane within the timeframe outlined by enrollment projections.
“I’m cautiously optimistic we can open elementary school #41 in August 2013,” said Roey. “It’s going to require tremendous coordination, doing things in the most expedient manner possible, but I do believe we can do it.”
The school board voted June 9 to approve the design for an elementary school without having a site for it. Roey said the approved schematic for the 600-pupil school would fit within the footprint of the Ducketts Lane site so long as the school system could get permission to fill in wetlands for a parking lot. He estimated the approval process would take 6-9 months.
School board member Frank Aquino said he was concerned about the wetlands. Joel Gallihue, manager of school planning, explained that the wetlands on the site were not “considered as urgent for retention” because they were not contiguous.
“We have had preliminary discussions at several levels and we’ve been assured from agency heads that we will have full cooperation,” said Roey.
According to Gallihue, most of the students at the school would be coming from . He said students may switch to .
With Elkridge Elementary projected to be at 115.4 percent capacity in 2012, one school board member said she wasn’t sure whether Ducketts Lane would be the solution.
“I had assumed there would be great relief to the Elkridge Elementary area,” said Sandra French. “I’m really confused as to why you’re saying that Elkridge may not get relief until 2019.”
The plan took into account redistricting, said Gallihue, a concept the board will be evaluating in the coming year.
“This is not the only plan, and it’s not an approved plan,” said Roey.
“This is just a feasible plan for acquisition,” added Gallihue.
There will be a public hearing on the site July 14.