Howard County school officials are moving forward in the process of building a replacement Talbott Springs Elementary School in Columbia.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the elementary school’s design plans at its meeting on May 9.
The replacement two-story, 86,805-square-foot building will feature an outdoor garden, an outdoor classroom, an early childhood playground, 110 parking spots for cars and 10 for buses.
The new building will have 587 seats, with students from Talbott Springs and Stevens Forest elementary schools moving into the school, according to Scott Washington, director of capital planning and construction for Howard schools. The school system will redistrict students from Steven Forest, which is a mile away from Talbott Springs.
Construction, expected to cost $32.2 million, is slated to begin in October 2020, with the new building opening for the 2022-23 school year.
Mirroring how the replacement Wilde Lake Middle School was built, Talbott Springs’ new building will be constructed next to or behind the existing school, Washington said.
The project is expected to be completed in its entirety by December 2022. From September to December 2022, the former existing school would be demolished and the new athletic fields would be completed. New fields are expected to include a softball and a multipurpose field.
Talbott Springs Elementary opened in 1973 as a one-story building. It has had two additions in 2000 and 2008 and one minor renovation in 2013, Washington said.
In October, after months of back and forth, the school system received approval from the state’s Interagency Commission on School Construction. The commission, which reviews and approves public school building projects, had said it would support renovating the 45-year-old school.
In other business, the school board unanimously approved to move forward with acquiring two land sites in Columbia that will house future elementary schools. The two sites are Dickinson Park and Huntington Park.