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County Executive Ball Prefiles Bill to Advance Construction of High School #13

County Executive Ball Prefiles Bill to Advance Construction of High School #13

March 21, 2019 

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

Council approval will ensure groundbreaking in spring 2020 and school completion by September 2023. The last high school built in Howard County opened in 2005.

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today prefiled legislation with the County Council to move to the final phase of landsite acquisition for construction of a new high school, Howard County’s 13th, on Mission Road in Jessup. The legislation, when approved by the Council, gives the county executive authority to sign a Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) with the companies that own the property, so settlement can move forward. The DRRA preserves current zoning for an adjacent quarry and provides for the continued operation of the quarry. The full DRRA agreement can be found here. The DRRA resolution can be found here

The process to acquire the 77-acre Mission Road site has spanned three county administrations. Council approval will ensure groundbreaking in spring 2020 and school completion by September 2023. Projected to be 287,000 square feet, the 13th high school will accommodate 1,650 students with parking for 579 vehicles and 34 school buses. The school is expected to cost $130.7 million.

“Alleviating school overcrowding is a priority for me and moving forward with this legislation will help us make significant progress,” said Ball. “With input and support from our community, we are making progress on school overcrowding. Working together, we will build High School 13.”

The Board of Education voted to approve the Mission Road site in March 2018 and received state approval for the project two months later. (Documents related to environmental testing and other considerations prior to site selection can be found here.) Earlier this month, it approved design and planning for the new school. (Documents including concept renderings, site plan and floor plans presented to the Board, can be found here.) 

“This has been a long and collaborative process that will ensure that high school #13 will open in 2023 as scheduled,” said Board of Education Chair Mavis Ellis. “I am thankful that, with the efforts of the County Council and multiple administrations, we will be able to better serve our families and students in the eastern part of Howard County.”

The last high school built in Howard County, Marriotts Ridge, opened in 2005. At that time, county high school enrollment totaled 15,578 students and total county enrollment for all levels was 48,596 students. In comparison, a 2018 Feasibility Study projects year 2023 high school enrollment to be 19,620 students, and total county enrollment for all levels at 60,500 students.

“Eighteen years between new high schools is far too long for a county that is thriving and growing as rapidly as Howard County,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “Our students and staff simply couldn’t continue to function effectively in buildings that are nearing 150 percent capacity so I am thrilled that we are on track to open on time. The collaboration with the County Executive and County Council throughout this process has been tremendous, as we all keep our children and families at the forefront of our considerations and actions.” 

“‘Why Not Jessup’ is very excited to see the final step for the land for High School #13 and thanks County Executive Ball for his commitment to finalizing this project, for our students and families,” said Becky McKirahan, of the grassroots community group ‘Why Not Jessup’ which supported selection of the Mission Road site. “We support the DRRA, as the quarry has been a consistent supporter of our community and a welcome partner in all our endeavors.  We look forward to the new site and how it will help relieve overcrowded schools and bring our communities together. We see this as a step towards the revitalization of Route 1 and Jessup itself.” 

“I am excited that the County is moving forward with High School 13,” said Howard County Council Chair Christiana Mercer Rigby (D-District 3). “This school will be a vital anchor for the Jessup community and a catalyst for future investment in Route 1.”

“As a father of three and a resident of Elkridge, I am excited about the construction of High School 13,” said Howard County Council Member Opel Jones (D-District 2). “Some of our students currently attend overcrowded schools that may serve as a detriment to the success of our future leaders. High School 13 would hopefully eradicate portable classrooms, re-establish normal lunch hours, and alleviate hallway congestion.”