Last week, I wrote about school capacity in downtown Columbia and the need for Howard County to build additional schools in order to keep up with the county's anticipated population growth in an article titled "Where will the Merriweather District kids go to school?". On a county-wide level, there are already more K-12 students than seats in the county, and the student population is projected to increase by 8,000 students over the next 10 years.
This week, I'm providing a primer on the current and future capital projects being planned for the next 10 years to help meet these capacity needs.
Current Capital Projects
The FY2021 Proposed Capital Budget details the three major capital project priorities that are currently underway. These include:
Replacement of Talbott Springs Elementary school (scheduled opening of September 2022 and will have 163 more seats than the existing school);
Construction of new High School #13 on Mission Road in Jessup (scheduled opening of September 2023; and will accommodate 1658 students),
Renovation/addition to Hammond High School (scheduled opening of September 2023 and will increase the school's capacity by 220 seats).
These projects are anticipated to create an additional 2,033 seats.
Future Capital Projects
FY 2022-2026 Howard County Capital Improvement Program
Projects included in the FY 2022-2026 Howard County Capital Improvement Program (per the FY21 Capital Budget Request)
Construction of two new elementary schools (ES #43 and ES #44 tentatively planned for 2027 and 2031, each with 600 seats);
Renovations/Additions to Dunloggin MS (tentative planned for 2028; 97 more seats), Oakland Mills MS (planned for 2030; 156 more seats), Centennial HS (TBD; 260 more seats), and Patapsco MS (TBD; 155 more seats);
These projects, once completed, are anticipated to create another 1,868 seats.
FY 2021-2030 Long-Range Master Plan
The FY 2021-2030 Long-Range Master Plan also includes new ES #45 (TBD), and new HS #14 (TBD), which if funded and built, can provide ~2000 more seats.
Potential Sites of Elementary Schools
Projections indicate that the long-range plan requires three new elementary schools, and HCPSS has identified the Route 1 Corridor, Columbia Town Center, and Turf Valley as the the areas that will experience the greatest growth over the next 5 to 10 years (see page 36 of the FY21 Proposed Capital Budget).
HCPSS maintains a 'land bank' of sites (see page 21 of 2019 Feasibility Study) that can be used for the construction of an elementary school:
Hawthorne Park: Sunny Spring Drive between Cricket Pass and Golden Hook (10 acres), acquired 1974
Faulkner Ridge: 10598 Marble Faun Lane (9 acres), acquired 1968
Clary's Forest: Little Patuxent Parkway, at it's intersection with Bright Passage (10 acres), acquired 2018
Dickinson Park: Eden Brook Drive, between Sweet Hours Way and Weather Worn Way (11 acres), acquired 2019, designated as school open space property
Huntington Park: Vollmerhausen Road, between Murray Hill Road and Polished Stone (11 acres), acquired 2019, designated as school open space property
HCPSS is also working with the Howard County Government to acquire land in the following locations that will be added to the land bank once a purchase is finalized:
Mission Road, in the Route 1 Corridor, for an elementary school site next to future HS #13.
Turf Valley (note that the county was in process of negotiating a purchase of a 12 acres on Resort Road back in 2017)