Today, County Executive Calvin Ball announced Troy Park as the County’s site preference for High School #14 (HS14). Ball sent a letter to the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Superintendent and Board of Education earlier this week asking for HCPSS to convene the Site Review Committee to move the project forward. Ball’s decision follows the Board of Education voting to include High School #14 back in the school system’s Long-Range Master Plan last month. Photos of the event can be found here. Video can be found here.
“As we’ve all learned over the past seven months, ensuring our children and educators have a quality, safe learning and teaching environment is critical to the success of our public schools,” said Ball. “The need for additional school capacity is one of the most pressing issues in Howard County, and I’m pleased to announce that Troy Park is the County’s preferred location for High School #14. Troy Park is the sole location that balances our interest in preserving taxpayer funds by limiting acquisition costs while curbing impacts on the surrounding community. We must continue to be smart and strategic when planning and investing in the future of our schools – the decisions we make today will have a long-term impact on our community and a generation of students.”
Currently, about half of the 12 HCPSS high schools exceed the 115% utilization benchmark. Howard County has engaged in a lengthy and transparent site selection process for the site of HS14. The High School #14 Task Force was convened in 2018 and carefully weighed the options on proposed locations. Troy Park was first suggested by the Task Force and has been vetted through two environmental assessments to ensure its viability. Troy Park was considered the most environmentally friendly for HS14. Approximately 40 acres of parkland will be utilized by the Board of Education for the construction and operation of HS14, which includes a shared use of existing and future athletic facilities at the 101-acre Troy Park
This site builds on County Executive Ball’s record investment in critical school construction projects. The FY21 Capital Budget invested $68.7 million in school capital projects. This budget included significant investments to keep each of HCPSS’ top 3 priority projects on schedule, including:
• $21.5 million to support the renovation and addition at Hammond High School,
• $15.1 million to support replacement of Talbott Springs Elementary School, and
• $11.3 million to support the construction of a new High School #13.
“I am thrilled about the selection and future construction of High School 14 in Troy Park,” said District 2 Council Member Opel Jones. “High School 14 is a needed addition to accommodate our growing county, especially as an Elkridge resident, representing parts of Elkridge, Ellicott City, Hanover, and East Columbia. I look forward to the continued investment in our children’s futures.”
“Howard County is one of the fastest growing communities in our state, requiring our school system to add capacity and resources to serve our growing student body. Redistricting and capital projects alone cannot keep pace to ensure our schools remain at appropriate capacity,” said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, HCPSS Superintendent. “We welcome and appreciate the addition of this new site for a future high school and will now follow the procedures defined in Policy 6000 to review the site in conjunction with the County through the Site Review Committee, and the State agencies for approval.”
“Last month, the Board acknowledged the importance of adding another future high school to accommodate our projected needs by including High School #14 to our FY2022-2031 Long-Range Master Plan,” said Mavis Ellis, HCPSS Board Chair. “We know land is scarce in Howard County and appreciate this site to serve students in the eastern portion of our county, where much of our county’s population growth is concentrated. Our staff will follow the process defined in our Site Selection and Acquisition policy, to review and evaluate the site and make recommendations to the Board of Education.”
“I want to express my full support of the County Executives decision for Troy Park to become the preferred site for High School 14,” said Raul Delerme, Recreation & Parks Director. “I am looking forward to partnering with the school system’s team to work on the next steps of this project that will include the planning, engineering and architectural design of this future high school, as well as continuing the design and build out of our parks maintenance facility and community center as depicted on the illustration board. Our Department has worked with the school system on many different projects over the years and I can assure you that our team will design this new high school and the remaining park amenities to meet the Elkridge community needs and expectations.”
“The primary purpose of the task force was to evaluate and recommend viable properties within the Elkridge community,” said Sandy Roschli, High School #14 Task Force Chair. “With the current school overcrowding in our county, we must take realistic and meaningful action at this time to ensure a high school in Elkridge becomes a reality. On behalf of all the members of the Elkridge High School Task Force, join County Executive Ball in support of Troy Park for High School 14.”
“High School 14 is critical to the future growth and sustainability for the Elkridge community and we thank County Executive Ball for having a great sense of urgency to keep this project moving forward,” said Deeba Jafri, Elkridge resident and HCPSS parent. “So many of us were educated in the Howard County Public Schools or moved our families here because of the quality of our schools. Troy Park was the right choice, and we’re so pleased to finally see a high school being built in Elkridge. We must continue to build schools to maintain our excellent education system and the High School 14 planning process is a key component of our future success.”
You can view all of the photos I took at the event here: