School system files suit over Ducketts Lane site

The Howard County school system has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the $2.64-million, 10-acre property on Ducketts Lane in Elkridge that is planned to house a new elementary school in the crowded region, school officials said Tuesday, Dec. 20.

"We have a contract that they have not fulfilled," said Ken Roey, executive director of facilities planning and management. "The owners did agree to a consent order in which they would not attempt to sell the property to anyone else, or encumber this any further. We hope to resolve it so we can get back to our real task of getting a school built."

A lien dispute had stopped the school system from purchasing the site, which is slated for a 600-seat elementary school. Officials say the new school will relieve overcrowding at existing elementary schools such as Bellows Spring, Deep Run and Elkridge.

The property sellers, Ducketts Ridge LLC, owe less than $200,000 to one of two lienholders, developer Barry Mehta. The unresolved lien has held up the final sale of the site several times.

The suit comes the same day the Board of Education approved construction documents for the school. The board and the school staff are still hoping to open the school for the 2013-2014 school year, with the project going to bid this spring and construction beginning in June. But that is contingent on the school system's acquisition of the property.

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