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Executive Kittleman signs agreement to purchase site for County’s 13th high school

Executive Kittleman signs agreement to purchase site for County’s 13th high school

May 5, 2016

Media Contacts:
Deidre McCabe, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
James M. Irvin, Director, Department of Public Works, 410-313-4401

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced an agreement with Chase Land, LLC and Annapolis Junction Holdings, L.P. to purchase 70 acres off U.S. Route 1 just south of Mission Road in Jessup as the future site of the County’s 13th high school.

The purchase price for the property, which would be paid in installments, is estimated at $23.1 million. The property acquisition would be included in the County’s capital budgets over two years with funding coming from existing General Obligation Bonds from the current land acquisition project, Metropolitan District Bonds, property asset sales and Program Open Space funds.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for both the community and the County. The site is large enough to accommodate at least two new schools, which are needed due to growth in eastern Howard County. It also allows for the development of ball fields and a long overdue water storage facility with its own access road,” said Kittleman. “This location along the Route 1 Corridor provides a central site which will provide much needed relief to Howard, Long Reach, Hammond and Reservoir high schools.”

According to the Department of Planning and Zoning, population in the eastern portion of the County is expected to grow by 14 percent over the next 10 years.

“The County Executive recognizes the fact that land resources for new school construction are increasingly hard to find and critically important in a system like ours with growing enrollment,” said HCPSS Superintendent Renee A. Foose. “We appreciate the investment in the future of our schools and communities.”

The site will also provide recreational amenities for public use. “We’re excited to have the opportunity for additional sports fields, especially in the eastern part of the County, where demand is exceeding available space,” said John Byrd, Director of the Department of Recreation and Parks. “These fields will be a real asset to the sports leagues and recreational athletes we partner with and serve.”

Kittleman and Kingdon Gould, Jr. signed a 14-page Memorandum of Understanding covering acquisition details, including principal terms of the sale, an installment plan for payment, site review and development, environmental assessment and vehicular access.

“We’re pleased to work with the County on this deal, which ultimately satisfies infrastructure needs in education, recreation and utilities,” said Kingdon Gould, Jr., President of the Gould Property Company, General Partner of Chase Land and Annapolis Junction Holdings.

James Irvin, Director of Public Works, said building a water utility on part of the property is critical. “The new elevated water storage facility will maintain adequate water pressure in the southern Route 1 corridor as the area continues to develop. This facility will also provide an additional source of water for fire protection,” he said.

The 70-acre parcel provides numerous options that a smaller site would not afford, and working with a single property owner greatly simplifies the process, which can be complicated and time-consuming if numerous parcels with multiple owners have to be pieced together.

Under the terms of the MOU:

  • The seller will grade the property so the Department of Recreation and Parks can develop ball fields to use for its programs before the school(s) are built;
  • The seller must abide by the existing conditional use granted by the Board of Appeals regarding management of dust from a nearby quarry and any other environmental concerns;
  • The seller will contribute to the construction of an entrance from U.S. Route 1 to serve as the primary entrance for school traffic;
  • A Phase I environmental assessment must be completed prior to the County entering a purchase contract;
  • The future agreement will include a due diligence period for the County to perform the customary review of the site, including environmental assessments.

The MOU anticipates the parties will enter a formal Purchase and Sale Agreement that provides for installment payments. The purchase will require County Council review and approval, with funding included in Fiscal Years 2107 and 2018.

Councilperson Mary Kay Sigaty, who attended the MOU signing, commented: “We certainly have a need in Eastern Howard County for additional schools to keep up with enrollment growth. I look forward to working with my Council colleagues, the County Executive and the Board of Education on the use of this location for new schools.”

"As a parent of students at Howard High School, I understand firsthand the need for new schools in the eastern part of the County,” said Board of Education Chairperson Christine O’Connor. “This new site will ensure that our school system continues to provide excellent education to our children at all levels, while keeping up with planned growth in communities along the Route 1 corridor, including Elkridge."

Kittleman has introduced a new Capital Project, C0352 - Site Acquisition for School Sites and Elevated Water Storage Facilities, which will be used for the purchase. This project is scheduled for review by the Planning Board on May 5, 2016 and will be submitted to the County Council as an amendment to the FY2017 Capital Budget on May 20.