Board proposes new location for Elkridge elementary school

After approving a design plan for an elementary school in the northeast region of Howard County, the Board of Education is moving forward with a site for the new school — just not the one previously discussed.

The board unanimously selected a site along Ducketts Lane in Elkridge, less than two miles from the site initially proposed on Coca-Cola Drive in Hanover, at its meeting Tuesday, June 21.

The site came recommended by Ken Roey, executive director of facilities, and Joel Gallihue, manager of school planning, and their staffs. The previous site, located on Coca-Cola Drive, drew criticism from the public and board members for its closeness to a potential CSX Corp. intermodal facility, where containers of consumer goods are loaded onto trains for transport throughout the country.

The new 10.1-acre site is large enough to comfortably fit the approved school design, a bus lot, parking lot, ball field, basketball courts and a multi-purpose field, Roey said.

The only obstacle he could foresee, he said, was acquiring permits to fill in discontinuous wetlands on the site, which are currently where a parking lot would go.

The board must still acquire the site from its owners. The site was previously owned by the school system, Roey said.

A public hearing on the matter will be held July 14, with a board decision on acquisition August 18. If the board approves the purchase of the site, acquisition would occur "as soon as possible," Roey said, and the elementary school could still open by August 2013.

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