Sunday, March 4, 2018

Misson Road: The Wrong Site Now

Perhaps the largest issue the County is facing at the current moment is where to build the next High School (HS#13) there's the more sensible location; Elkridge and the not so sensible one; Jessup. Currently there are two locations in Elkridge. The first and most walker friendly is on Montgomery Road at the intersection of Landing Road and the other is in Troy Hill Park surrounded almost entirely by highways. The Jessup site is located between Route 1 and Mission Road just below the Railroad Tracks.

The reason I got involved in the HS#13 debate is because I read an article that gives reasons as to why the Mission Road Site should be the site selected. They point to the fact that the southeast has had less School construction and that locating the School there would lead fewer Schools with high FARM percentages. Sadly the southeast isn't where the growth is at the moment. The growth is in the northeast and the two High Schools that need it the most are Howard and Long Reach. The article sites a grandiose redistricting plan that "back fills" Howard and Long Reach after HS#13 opens. I don't  that's gong to happen since HS#13 can fill itself simply by taking Students out of Howard and Long Reach and without further redistricting, all three Schools will be at capacity in a very short time.

I agree that additional redistricting need to happen in 2022 when HS#13 is slated to open. I also understand why the southeast believes they're owed a High School. In 2002 they were cheated out of one. Reservoir should have been built there instead of what would become Maple Lawn. The Site that became the North Laurel Park and Community Center was reserved for a High School at one point. Had that occurred, the entire North Laurel Community would have been able to walk to School and Atholton, River Hill, and Reservoir wouldn't have been next door neighbors.

Not only was the southeast cheated out of a High School in 2002 but Elkridge was in 1996. The County chose Long Reach to relieve crowding at Howard despite both Schools being less than two miles from each other. Like the southeast, Elkridge has to travel far to either Howard or Long Reach. Yes both parts of the County were cheated out of a High School in the past but Elkridge needs one now. As I stated earlier, HS#13 can fill itself with excess students from Howard and Long Reach alone and no in bound redistricting will be needed to either existing School. I also stated that more redistricting will have to take place in 2022 and I believe I can map out the Countywide redistricting for other Schools. First, here's my plan for the HS#13 District. This will be the District regardless of which site in Elkridge is used.  
As you can see this District follows a feeder system with Thomas Viaduct and Elkridge Lading Middles attending HS#13 and Mayfield Woods and part of Bonnie Branch attending Long Reach while Ellicott Mills and the rest of Bonnie Branch attending Howard. The remaining redistricting for 2022 will follow the same goal of a balanced feeder system.

As you can see in the western part of the County, I have flip flopped parts of River Hill and Glenelg. This allow a better split of the Folly Quarter Middle School District between Glenelg and River Hill. Under this plan, if you attend Dayton Oaks you attend River Hill and if you attend Tridelphia Ridge, you attend Glenelg.
The above plan creates a better feeder system for the west but River Hill will remain under enrolled. That is why I have sent the northern section of the Pointers Run Neighborhood to River Hill from Atholton. To refill Atholton, I have redistricted a part of Reservoir to Atholton. This area was chosen as a future feeder fix that will occur when ES#43 opens. And yes, I have carved out a district for ES#43.
Next we come to Hammond which serves most of the southeast and will serve more of it under my plan. Reservoir will continue to be crowded as Maple Lawn grows and will need more redistricting than just area I'm sending to Atholton. That's why I'm eliminating the feed from Patuxent Valley to Reservoir by sending it to Hammond. All of Patuxent Valley will then attend Hammond. The Guilford and Macgills Common Communities currently attending Hammond will be redistricted to Oakland Mills. I'd like to point out that Hammond is going to undergo a massive renovation/modernization that will include a 200 seat addition scheduled to be completed in 2022 when HS#13 opens.

Now I'm not trashing the Mission Road site completely. In fact, I think it should be the Site for the aforementioned ES#43 scheduled to open in 2023. In the future it should also be used for MS#21 as Middle Schools in the northeast and southeast become crowded again (yes I have carved out a district for MS#21 as well.) Since the Mission Road Site totals 100 acres, there will be land left over from ES#43 and MS#21 to build HS#15 or 16 one day in the future. What about HS#14 you ask? Notice Centennial and Mount Hebron are absent from this redistricting scheme. Stay Tuned. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Middle & High School for Every Village and an Elmentary School for Every Neighborhood

When Columbia was first built, there were supposed to be many more schools. There is evidence of this throughout certain Villages where the School Sites were master planned. Older Villages have a plethora of Schools but newer ones didn't come to fruition for various reasons; declining enrollment, lack of funding, choosing different school sites, and adding on to existing Schools. I'm going to go through the nine Villages (excluding Town Center) and their Neighborhoods to see what Schools were built where and what Schools weren't.

Village of Wilde Lake:
Wilde Lake High School- Originally opened in 1971 and replaced with a larger building in 1996. The first Wilde Lake was built in anticipation that more West Columbia Villages would have their own High School. With that not happening and other High Schools like Atholton and Centennial not being able to house other West Columbia Villages, the new Wilde Lake opened and now houses the lion's share of West Columbia High School Students. Hawthorn, Clemens Crossing, and the Village of River Hill are the only parts of West Columbia that do not attend Wilde Lake.
Wilde Lake Middle-Originally opened in 1969 and replaced in 2017. This school has housed the Village of Wilde Lake, Town Center, and most of Hickory Ridge and part of Dorsey's Search. The new larger Wilde Lake Middle was built for several reasons; the old building was too expensive to renovate and add on to, crowding not only here but Harper's Choice Middle, and all the future students from Town Center. Crowding will resume at Wilde Lake Middle in the coming years however.
Bryant Woods Elementary-Opened in 1968, this was Columbia's first School. As more Schools opened and building in Columbia stalled, along with an aging population, Bryant Woods needed more students as did many other West Columbia Schools. As a result, Hawthorn was redistricted to Bryant Woods and enrollment generally matched capacity. Today, as the aging population of Bryant Woods sells their homes and are bought by younger families, Bryant Woods has become crowded and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Town Center does not go here at this time. Since Bryant Woods hasn't received an addition, I think this School should be replaced with a larger School to handle its own growth and part of the Town Center growth.
Faulkner Ridge Elementary-Opened in 1969 and closed in 1983. The building still exists and is vacant. As enrollment declined in many parts of the County in 1980s, there were a few casualties. Faulkner Ridge Elementary was one of them. Its district was divided up between remaining West Columbia Schools. It can be debated on whether this was the right thing to do since both Swansfield and Clemens Crossing both received additions shortly after Faulkner Ridge closed. In order to handle Town Center growth however, Columbia will need a new Elementary School. It has been suggested that Faulkner Ridge re-open in 2027 with a replacement building.
Running Brook Elementary-Opened in 1970. Running Brook's district currently holds ALL of Town Center. Regardless of whether or not Faulkner Ridge re-opens and/or Bryant Woods gets a replacement school, I think a replacement School for Running Brook should be built as well. The existing Elementary Schools in the Village of Wilde Lake are simply to small and old to accommodate this growth.

Village of Harper's Choice
Harper's Choice High School-Never opened. In the early days of Columbia, Harper's Choice was supposed to have its own High School. Before this High School was to open, Students from Harper's Choice attended Wilde Lake. What have been Harper's Choice High School is today's Centennial High. A more centralized location was decided on since this new School was built to relieve crowding at Mount Hebron, Howard, and Wilde Lake. The Harper's Choice High School site is located next to the Middle School of the same name and currently houses what is known as the "Old Cedar Lane School." which is now offices. The Columbia Dog Park and Skateboard Park were used with fields that would have been for the High School. Both Longfellow and Hobbit's Glen attended Centennial for a time but as it became crowded, the entire Village of Harper's Choice now attends Wilde Lake once again.
Harper's Choice Middle School-Opened in 1973. In addition to serving its namesake Village, Harper's Choice Middle served part of the Village of Hickory Ridge until a Middle School opened there. It never did. Today, Clary's Forest continues to attend Harper's Choice and Hawthorn was redistricted to Wilde Lake Middle in 1991. Clemens Crossing never attended Harper's Choice. With Clary's Forest attending Harper's Choice, the Middle School been overcrowded most of its existence and is slated to remain so. Since this building is aging and Neighboring Wilde Lake Middle will be crowded in the coming years, I suggest building a replacement Harper's Choice Middle with a larger capacity to avoid further crowding. A Middle School for Hickory Ridge will most likely never be built.
Longfellow Elementary-Opened in 1970. There was a chance this would be the West Columbia School to close in the 1980s. Faulkner Ridge was the School to close ultimately and the redistricting associated with said closure upped enrollment at Longfellow as well as redistricting from Clarksville Elementary years later. After a massive modernization in 2014-2015, Longfellow is now large enough for its current population and can accept redistricting from neighboring Schools if necessary.
Swansfield Elementary-Opened in 1972. Swansfield has been relied heavily upon by Clary's Forest since the 1980s. It was anticipated that Cary's Forest would get its own Elementary School when Swansfield was first built. As a result, Swansfield has been added on to throughout outs history to combat crowding. Swansfield was just modernized in 2016-2017 and the addition that came with it was supposed to help crowding in the region but growth has made it so this addition can handle the current population and nothing more.

Hobbits Glen Elementary-Never opened. The School System owns 5 acres at the intersection of Harper's Farm Road and Rivendell Lane. I'm not sure of this meant to be part of an Elementary School Site for Hobbit's Glen. Hobbit's Glen used to consist solely of Willow Bottom Drive and its side streets. Hobbits Glen was also supposed to contain another lake which never materialized. That may have played a part in the development gap within Hobbits Glen. By the time the rest of Hobbits Glen was built, a third Elementary School for the Village of Harper's Choice wasn't needed as Longfellow could absorb its population.    

Village of Oakland Mills
Oakland Mills High -Opened in 1973. This was Columbia's second High School and the first one in East Columbia. When it opened it was very crowded and served the Villages of Oakland Mills, Owen Brown, and Allview Estates much like it does today. In 1976 when Hammond High opened, the Village of Owen Brown was redistricted here. By the 1980s, Hammond had become overcrowded and Oakland Mills's crowding had subsided. Therefore, Elkhorn and Dasher Green were redistricted back to Oakland Mills while Hopewell returned in the 2000s. Right now, Neighboring High Schools are experiencing crowding and Oakland Mills is in the position to provide relief to those Schools via redistricting.
Oakland Mills Middle-Opened in 1972. This was East Columbia's first Middle School. Little has changed here since 1976 when Owen Brown Middle opened. Enrollment has stayed in within the 400-500 mark which is optimal because the building has a capacity of 506. The building is aging and needs to be replaced not just renovated. This school is also in the position to relieve crowding at neighboring Middle Schools but the only way to do so is to build a larger building with a capacity of 662-701 so redistricting can commence.
Thunderhill Elementary-Opened in 1970. Thunderhill was East Columbia's first Elementary School. It opened as a small school set to receive only its namesake Neighborhood. In the late 1980s, crowding at Northfield Elementary in Ellicott City had a couple of Neighborhoods redistricted to Thunderhill at which point Thunderhill received additions. In 2012 Thunderhill received a complete modernization that included yet more additions allowing Thunderhill to receive the Columbia 100 Parkway Neighborhood.
Stevens Forest Elementary-Opened in 1972. This school was very crowded when it opened and it continued to struggle with crowding even after Talbott Springs, Jeffers Hill, and Dasher Green opened later in the 1970s. By the 1990s, crowded had ceased and Stevens Forest was able to assist neighboring Talbott Springs with its crowding in 2003. In 2013 Stevens Forest was modernized and received a large addition so it further assist Talbott Springs when it became crowded yet again.
Talbott Springs Elementary-Opened in 1973. The neighborhood of Talbott Springs was supposed to be much larger. The Smith Farm (present day Blandair Park) was supposed to be part of the neighborhood and therefore part of the Talbott Springs Elementary district. Since this didn't happen, Talbott Springs has played and continues to play the role of "catch all" to some neighborhoods whose Elementary Schools had yet to open or never did. Locust Park, Elkhorn, and Fairway Hills
have gone to Talbott Springs over the years while Hopewell and the Sewell's Orchard out parcel still do. At first Talbott Springs could handle these extra Neighborhoods but in the late 2000s enrollment skyrocketed and redistricting to Stevens Forest had to occur. Although this helped, Talbott Springs is still crowded. A replacement School is planned for a 2021 opening. The new Talbott Springs will be much larger to absorb the growth that's occurred.

Village of Long Reach

Long Reach High School-Opened in 1996. Long Reach was not supposed to have its own High School. Since Howard High is right across the street from the northern border of the Village, it wasn't needed and no site was reserved. Howard High became very crowded in the 1990s and a new High School was needed. The County didn't want to buy a site for this new High School. So instead of building this new School in a more appropriate location like Elkridge, they used the site for the never built Long Reach Middle School. As a result, parts of Long Reach are within in walking distance of both Schools and at the same time both Schools bus Students from the far eastern edges of the County. Both Schools are very crowded and another High School is needed to serve Elkridge. Lets hope a better site is selected this time.

Long Reach Middle School-Never opened. A site was reserved for Long Reach Middle, Long Reach High was built on it. As the Village of Long Reach was being built, both Ellicott Mills and Waterloo Middle were under enrolled. In the 1970s these schools were able to absorb Long Reach. In the 1980s, enrollment had dropped countywide and Waterloo Middle, which had had a fire, was absorbed by Ellicott Mills. Locust Park and Phelps Luck however were annexed by Wilde Lake Middle which at the time was in danger of closing as well. The early 1990s would have been a good time to build Long Reach Middle as it then became needed. Instead, the County opted for a site off of Mayfield Avenue and built Mayfield Woods Middle which most of  Long Reach attended. Long Reach Middle could have been built in the early 2000s had the High School not taken its site but Bonnie Branch was built off of Ilchester Road. Today, Bonnie Branch and Mayfield Woods split the Village of Long Reach.
Phelps Luck Elementary-Opened in 1972. Long Reach's first Elementary School opened crowded. It has remained so for most of its history. During the 1970s, the crowding was so bad that not even all of its namesake Neighborhood could attend. The southern tip of High Tor Hill attended Waterloo while the southern tip of Phelps Luck Drive attended Worthington. Locust Park was located closest to Phelps Luck but it attended Waterloo, Talbott Springs, Jeffers Hill, a small part was annexed to Waterloo again until finally attending Phelps Luck in the 1980s. Phelps Luck has received additions in 1989, 1998, & 2007 while it received a massive modernization in 2012-2013 which included yet another addition. Despite a larger building and a smaller district, enrollment at Phelps Luck remains stubbornly high.
Jeffers Hill Elementary-Opened in 1974. Jeffers Hill provided relief for Phelps Luck and Waterloo which had bared the brunt of the Jeffers Hill District. Jeffers Hill is located near a couple of School sites that were never built. In the 1980s while enrollment and crowding was calming throughout Columbia, the Schools serving Kings Contrivance were experiencing crowding and part of the Huntington Neighborhood was redistricted to Jeffers Hill for several years. In the 2000s, the "April Brook Circle" area of Kendall Ridge was redistricted here and became crowded. As a result, Sewell's Orchard was redistricted to Talbott Springs.

Locust Park Elementary-Never Opened. Of all the unopened Elementary Schools, Locust Park was probably needed the most. Locust Park contains high density Apartments and Town Homes that yield high enrollment numbers. The crowding at Phelps Luck, Waterloo, and Jeffers Hill could have filled this school if it were funded. In the 1980s, Locust Park could finally attend Phelps Luck which is the closest existing Elementary School. The Locust Park Elementary Site was located across from Flamepool Way and was traded with the School System with a church in a swap for land at Route 40 and Marriottsville Road. The church was built on the Locust Park Elementary Site and the site at Route 40 and Marriottsville Road will eventually contain a Middle School. The additions built at Phelps Luck have allowed Locust Park to remain there.

Kendall Ridge Elementary-Never Opened. Since Waterloo is located just adjacent to this Neighborhood, I don't believe a site was ever planned for this. Currently, Kendall Ridge is served by four Elementary Schools; Phelps Luck, Jeffers Hill, Waterloo, and Deep Run. The bulk of Kendall Ridge was built in the 1990s but Waterloo received a large modernization in 1987. Had the County decided to do away with Waterloo at the time, Kendall Ridge probably could have had its own Elementary School. Deep Run may also have been built elsewhere. That being said, I don't believe Kendall Ridge Elementary could have existed if Locust Park Elementary were built.

Village of Hickory Ridge
Hickory Ridge High School-Never Opened. The High School located in Hickory Ridge (Atholton) pre-dates the Village of Hickory Ridge and all of Columbia. Therefore, there was no need for another High School in Hickory Ridge and a site was never reserved. In the 1970s and '80s, the Village was built Atholton and currently most of Clemens Crossing and Hawthorn are able to walk to Atholton. Clary's Forest attends Wilde Lake however.     

Hickory Ridge Middle School-Never Opened. I have never been able to find a site for this School. I spoke with an old Friend and fellow Columbia History buff regarding this. His belief is that there was a site in between Atholton High and the Village Center and that the Clemens West Neighborhood was built on this site while my belief is that the Site was next to HCC on Hickory Ridge Road across from the Bluffs at Hawthorn Apartments. Although Hickory Ridge is a large enough Village to support its own Middle School I've seen nothing in the School Board archives or any old Columbia maps about a site or any planning funds for it. As it stands now, Clary's Forest attends Harper's Choice Middle while Clemens Crossing and Hawthorn attend Wilde Lake Middle.
Clemens Crossing Elementary School-Opened in 1979. Although enrollment declined in most of West Columbia the 1980s, some of the decline was because Clemens Crossing had attended the now closed Faulkner Ridge Elementary and when Clemens Crossing opened in 1979, the decline throughout the rest of West Columbia became more prominent. I do however believe it was for the best that Clemens Crossing has its own Elementary School since much of its population can walk to school now. Clemens Crossing also serves many out-parcels surrounding Hickory Ridge as well as a small section of Clary's Forest and in 1998 and 2006 the school received additions and received a major renovation in 2009. Starting in 2018, Rivers Edge south Route 29 will attend Pointers Run Elementary since Clemens Crossing is in the middle of an enrollment spike causing crowding.

Hawthorn Elementary-Never Opened.Throughout the late 1970s and into the '80s up until Faulkner Ridge closed, there had been funds for the planning of Hawthorn Elementary. At that point it had become known that Hawthorn didn't need an Elementary School and its planning funds were diverted to other projects. Up until 1983 Hawthorn attended Faulkner Ridge Elementary and was then redistricted to Bryant Woods. Most of Hawthorn still attends Bryant Woods while the Avalon at Symphony Glen Apartments and College Square Town Homes attend Running Brook. The site for Hawthorn Elementary is located on Sunny Spring across from Satanwood Drive. 

Clary's Forest Elementary-Never Opened. This is interesting because this may actually happen. As of recently, the County has been seeking a site to build a new Elementary School in West Columbia. It has been suggested that the old Faulkner Ridge Elementary be torn down and rebuilt. But there has also been a schematic design of the Clary's Forest Site developed as an Elementary School on the School Board Website. I'm unsure if this is instead of in addition to a rebuilt Faulkner Ridge. I do know that this undeveloped site at Little Patuxent Parkway and Bright Passage is now in the County's land bank along with the Faulkner Ridge site. Clary's Forest was built mostly in the 1980s and in 1988 additions were built at Swansfield and Clemens Crossing although Swansfield houses the bulk of Clary's Forest. Also in preparation for growth of Clary's Forest, Hobbits Glen was redistricted to Longfellow from Swansfield at around this same time.

Village of Owen Brown
Owen Brown High School-Never Opened. The site for Owen Brown High is located on Cradlerock Way between Quiet Hours and the Elementary/Middle School. When it became apparent that Owen Brown wasn't going to get its own High School, the site was used to build the East Columbia Branch of the Howard County Library. The fields meant for the High School are heavily used by the Community for local Sports Teams and the collection of fields is named East Columbia Park. In the mid 1970s, Oakland Mills was crowded enough to lose Owen Brown when Hammond opened. However, when development closer to Hammond was built in the 1980s, Owen Brown returned to Oakland Mills.

Owen Brown Middle School-Opened in 1976. Located on Cradlerock Way, Owen Brown Middle not only shares a campus with Dasher Green Elementary, it also shares a building. This was a good cost saving measure as 1976 was among the busiest years as far as School Construction is concerned. The two Schools have their own everything and operate separately. Like Oakland Mills Middle, Owen Brown can help overcrowding in Neighboring Districts. Unlike Oakland Mills, Owen Brown won't need a replacement School to do so. I'm aware that this School is now called "Lake Elkhorn Middle" but I refuse to call it that out of Principal.

Dasher Green Elementary-Opened in 1976. As stated before, this School shares a building with Owen Brown Middle. For the first 20 or so years of this School's life, it was very crowded. Other Neighborhoods in Owen Brown were slated to have Elementary Schools built but they never were. In the mid 1990s, crowding subsided. Enrollment is growing again but a new School isn't needed. Dasher Green had many undersized classrooms that keep the capacity low at 398. If the school were renovated with a small addition that brought those classrooms to specifications, the capacity could up itself closer to 500 which is where enrollment has remained for several years.

Elkhorn Elementary-Never Opened. As East Columbia was exploding with growth, Elkhorn Elementary could have really been helpful. The site was and is located at the corner of Oakland Mills Road and Milandy Circle. The site sits undeveloped. Had Jeffers Hill remained crowded in the 1980s when Sewells Orchard was built, Elkhorn Elementary could have been a reality but Locust Park was sent back to Phelps Luck which allowed Jeffers Hill to take in Sewells Orchard until 2003 when it was redistricted to Talbott Springs. Planning funds for Elkhorn Elementary remained in the School System's budget throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

Hopewell Elementary-Never Opened. The Site for this School is located on Rustling Leaf across from Deepage Drive. The only School that could house Hopewell until its namesake Elementary was built was Talbott Springs. Two things killed this Elementary School from being built. First was Guilford. Had Guilford closed its Elementary School instead of modernizing it, Hopewell Elementary would have been a go and the Guilford Community would have attended. Guilford was modernized in 1982. The other nail in the coffin was the fact that Talbott Springs was in no rush to get rid of Hopewell since they weren't crowded. Hopewell remains at Talbott Springs to this day. The new larger Replacement School for Talbott Spring should ensure space for Hopewell for years to come.

Village of Kings Contrivance
Kings Contrivance High-Opened in 1976. Although not named as such, Kings Contrivance does have it own High School; Hammond. The site that Hammond sits on is smack dab in the middle of Kings Contrivance on Guilford Road. Hammond High had been planned before Kings Contrivance had begun being built and isn't on New Town Zoning which explains the different name. Since Kings Contrivance hasn't begun construction when Hammond High opened, the Village of Owen Brown went there in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Once Kings Contrivance began producing large amounts of High School Students, Owen Brown went back to Oakland Mills. All of Kings Contrivance attends Hammond High and most of it walks here. Though not given the same name, this very much adheres to Rouse Vision of a High School for every Village.
Kings Contrivance Middle-Never Opened. The site for Kings Contrivance Middle sits right in between Hammond High and Kings Contrivance Village Center on Guilford Road. By the 1980s the idea of every Village having both a Middle and High School had somewhat faded. The sites Master Planned when Columbia was being built were deemed not large enough for the size newer Schools were at the time. When funding became available to build a Middle School for Kings Contrivance, the County chose a site in Savage just southeast of Huntington. Patuxent Valley Middle opened in 1989 and housed Huntington in addition to Jessup, Savage, and part of North Laurel. For a couple of years Dickinson attended Patuxent Valley. When Murray Hill Middle opened in 1997, Dickinson was redistricted back to Hammond Middle. MacGills Common went to Hammond too but it attended Clarksville Middle prior to 1997. As of 2014, part the Murray Hill Road/Early April Way section of Huntington is also attending Hammond Middle.
MacGills Elementary-Never Opened. Given that the entirety of this Neighborhood is within walking distance of the already existing Atholton Elementary, no site for this School was selected nor had there been any mention of one in the School Board Archives.
Huntington Elementary-Never Opened. The Site for Huntington Elementary is located at the corner of Murray Hill Road and Clocktower Lane. Had Hopewell Elementary been built and Guilford Elementary closed, the need for Huntington Elementary would have been greater. The second nail in the coffin for Huntington Elementary resides in Savage. Savage's namesake Elementary School closed in 1973 in favor of Whiskey Bottom Road Elementary (now Laurel Woods) the School Board promised to build Savage a new Elementary School and they made good on that promise in 1988 when Bollman Bridge Elementary opened. Bollman Bridge however is just southeast of Huntington and most of Huntington was redistricted there. There is currently no need to build an Elementary School in Huntington.
Dickinson Elementary-Never Opened. The Site for Dickinson Elementary is located at Eden Brook Drive and Weatherworn Way. Many things happened that ended up hurting the prospects for Dickinson Elementary. First was Atholton being modernized and getting an addition in 1980. Second was the same thing happening to Guilford in 1982. Next was Bollman Bridge opening in 1988 allowing Huntington to relieve Dickinson. As a result, Dickinson was redistricted to Guilford that same year until 2012 when Dickinson west of Eden Brook Drive went back to Atholton and east of Eden Brook Drive went to Hammond Elementary. The fourth and final nail in the coffin for Dickinson Elementary was the fact that not all Columbia Neighborhoods were getting their own Elementary School anymore.

Village of Dorsey's Search
Dorsey's Search High-Never Opened By the time Dorsey's Search began to be built in 1980, the idea of every Village having its own High School had all but died out. At that point, there was room to grow in the County's High Schools. Centennial had opened three years prior in 1977 and Dorsey Hall attended it. By 1994 Centennial had become over-crowded and Dorsey Hall was redistricted to Wilde Lake High where it remains today. Fairway Hills was already in the Wilde Lake District when it was built and it continues to go there today. No site for a Dorsey's Search High was ever planned.
Dorsey's Search Middle-Never Opened. By the time the Village of Dorsey's Search was being built in the 1980s, the idea of every Village having a Middle School was all but abandoned. No site for Dorsey's Search Middle was selected. Dorsey Hall is located very close to Dunloggin Middle which was under enrolled when Dorsey Hall was being built. In fact, a good portion of Dorsey Hall can walk to Dunloggin. When Fairway Hills was being built, Wilde Lake Middle was under enrolled and that's where Fairway Hill continues to be attend. No redistricting on the Middle School level has occurred in the Village of Dorsey's Search.
Dorsey Hall Elementary-Never Opened. I'm unsure as to whether Rouse ever intended for there to be an Elementary School for Dorsey Hall. I have a hunch that maybe that Chatham Estate whose southern border back to Grey Rock Drive in between Sunlit Passage and Firefly Way opposite Henhawk Court was intended to be purchased for this purpose. It looks that way when looking at maps, but I doubt it considering Northfield is so close and part of Dorsey Hall is within walking distance. Also Northfield was under enrolled when Dorsey Hall began being built. That changed quickly and Dorsey Hall east of Columbia Road was redistricted to Thunderhill in 1988 until 2013 when a large addition at Northfield allow all of Dorsey Hall to continue attending there.

Fairway Hills Elementary-Never Opened. Fairway Hills as a Neighborhood was kind of an after thought. It had been encompassed by the Allview Golf Course until its closure it which point Rouse bought up the land. An assortment of Apartments and Town Homes were built in the late 1980s to the early 1990s which makes what is now called Fairway Hills. The golf course was rebuilt around the new houses and throughout Running Brook and re-opened in 1996. No Site was reserved for an Elementary School for Fairway Hills. Running Brook is the nearest Elementary School but was crowded when the Neighborhood was built so Fairway Hills attended Talbott Springs until 2003 when it was redistricted to the more logical Running Brook.

Village of River Hill
River Hill High-Opened in 1996. The building opened in 1994 but housed Wilde Lake Students as swing space until their replacement School opened in 1996 thereby giving River Hill its own district. River Hill's district originally contained its namesake Village, Fulton, Highland, Clarksville, Dayton, part of Glenelg, and the western edge of Ellicott City. In 2002, when Reservoir High opened, Fulton was redistricted there while the Pointers Run Neighborhood went to Atholton leaving only Pheasant Ridge to attend the Village's namesake High School. In recent years, River Hill has become under enrolled while Atholton and Reservoir are experiencing crowding. Some if not all of Pointers Run may return to River Hill in the coming years.
River Hill Middle-Opened in 1979. Though River Hill hadn't been built when the most recent Clarksville Middle opened in 1979 (prior ones had existed prior) Clarksville Middle today only serves River Hill and a few adjacent Neighborhoods since the School is located at the southern edge of the Village . Areas like Clemens Crossing and Simpsonville redistricted to Wilde Lake Middle, in 1991 and 2003. Gaithers Farm was redistricted to Harper's Choice in 2003, Dayton, Clarksville, and Western Ellicott City was redistricted to Folly Quarter in 2003 while Fulton and Highland was redistricted to Lime Kiln in 1999. Clarksville only now serves River Hill so it is the defector "River Hill Middle" In 2018 however, a part of the overcrowded Lime Kiln Middle will be redistricted back to Clarksville Middle.     
Pointers Run Elementary-Opened in 1991. Pointers Run opened adjacent to Clarksville Middle and was meant to serve the entire Village of River Hill as well as Fulton, Highland, and part of Clarksville. Almost immediately after River Hill began to be built Pointers Run became very crowded with Fulton and, Clarksville, and Highland being redistricted to Fulton Elementary in 1997 while Pheasant Ridge was gradually redistricted to Clarksville Elementary in 1998,2002, and 2006. Leaving only the namesake Neighborhood attending Pointers Run Since then, overcrowding at Fulton and Clemens Crossing has allowed parts of their districts to either return to or attend Pointers Run for the first time in 2012 and 2018.

Pheasant Ridge Elementary-Opened in 1964. Although Pheasant Ridge doesn't have a namesake Elementary School and no site was reserved for one, Clarksville Elementary houses Pheasant Ridge and little else. Just like Clarksville Middle, Clarksville Elementary has been in other buildings before its current one opened in 1964 just north of what would become Pheasant Ridge. As the Village of River Hill was built throughout the 1990s, Pointers Run Elementary, which at the time housed Pheasant Ridge also had become very crowded. When Tridelphia Ridge Elementary opened in 1998, it took much of the then Clarksville Elementary district in Dayton and in turn the part of Pheasant Ridge along Trotter Road was redistricted to Clarksville. In 2002 Clarksville received a 200 seat addition which allowed the Linden Linthicum Lane and Indian Summer Drive part of Pheasant Ridge to attend Clarksville. This area walks to Clarksville. Finally in 2006, when Dayton Oaks Elementary opened, the final part of Pheasant Ridge along Great Star Drive was redistricted to Claksville and the last part of Clarksville Elementary that isn't part of Pheasant Ridge was redistricted out of Clarksville. 

Although it was quite apparent that with few exceptions, every Village was supposed to have a Middle and High School and every Neighborhood was supposed to have an Elementary School, it didn't turn out that way and there are many sites throughout Columbia that were reserved as such but were used for other things or sit undeveloped. In later Villages existing Schools were used and/or new ones were built elsewhere and the Neighborhoods and Villages were redistricted there. Although I could have cut this post much shorter by only writing about Schools that never opened, I felt it crucial to tell the story of the ones that did open because that can explain why those reserved School Sites remain empty.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Columbia: Light Up!

As the population in Columbia continues to grow, so too does the traffic. That means that traffic jams are on the rise and need to be controlled. The best way to do that is to add more traffic lights. That's why I have selected a few intersections throughout Columbia that have become more congested over the years and therefore warrant a traffic light. All though many of them are a result of the redevelopment in Town Center and the new trail going between the Hospital and Blandair, there are others as well. The intersections are divided by the Villages. Wilde Lake is the only Village in which no additional traffic lights.

Dorsey's Search
Dorsey Hall Drive/Entrance to Dorsey's Search Village Center 
Harper's Choice
Harper's Farm Road/Rivendell Lane
Route 108/Eliot's Oak Road
Route 108/Cedar Lane
Eliot's Oak Road/Hesperous Drive (South)
Hickory Ridge
Freetown Road/Hickory Ridge Village Center (North)
Cedar Lane/Harriett  Tubman Lane/Robinson Nature Center
Freetown Road/Atholton High/Hawkeye Run
Hickory Ridge Road/Campus Drive
King's Contrivance
Seneca Drive/Shaker Drive
Guilford Road/Blue Sea Drive/Hammond HS
Guilford Road/Old Columbia Road
Oakland Mills Road/Guilford Road/Glen Oaks Lane
Vomerhausen Road/Savage Guilford Road
Long Reach
Dobbin Road/Columbia Crossing II
Snowden River Parkway/April Crook Circle
Route 108/E. Red Branch Road
Tamar Drive/Phelps Luck Drive
Oakland Mills
Steven's Forest Road/Farewell Road/Nightstreet Hill*
Thunderhill Road/Route 108
Stevens Forest Road/White Acre Road
Stevens Forest Road/Camelback Lane/Santiago Road
Thunderhill Road/Twin Knolls Road
Owen Brown
Cradlerock Way/Homespun Drive*
Cradlerock Way/Lasting Light/OBVC
Snowden River Parkway/Rustling Leaf
River Hill
Route 108/Trotter Road
Great Star Drive/Daybreak Circle (North)
Great Star Drive/Route 32 Ramps
Route 108/Linden Linthicum Lane
Route 108/Clarksville Square
Trotter Road/Summer Sunrise Drive
Town Center
In Town Center many streets names will be repeated so some will be appreviated on the map.
LLP/Wincopin Circle
Mall Ring Road/Broken Land Parkway
Mall Ring Road/Twin Rivers Road
Mall Ring Road/Town Center Avenue
Mall Ring Road/Windstream Drive
Mall Ring Road/Sterrett Place
Twin Rivers Road/Broken Land Parkway
Hickory Ridge Road/Symphony Woods Road
Symphony Woods Road/South Entrance Road

*Instead of current or proposed roundabout.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Applying the Rules of Redistricting II: Middle Schools

Just like the Elementary Schools, redistricting is being proposed for the Middle Schools throughout the County. Unlike the Elementary Schools, there is no new Middle School opening in the 2018-2019 school year. In fact, there is no opening date for the proposed MS#21 in the southeast which will likely also provide relief to the northeast. There's no site either but I think the large Mission Road site purchased by the County is a good place for it.

10-15 years ago, the County obtained a site via a land swap with a Church, giving them the site for Locust Park ES in Long Reach that was never built. The County got 40 acres at the southeastern corner of Route 40 and Marriottsville Road that they had intended to bank for a future Middle School. This school and this site haven't been mentioned in a while since the need for a Middle School in the northern area of the County hasn't been there. However in the coming years, both Burliegh Manor and Mount View, whose districts border this still undeveloped site, will both be VERY crowded. This site, and the Middle School that will inhabit it, will provide relief and from hereon out will be known as MS#22. Like MS#21, there is no proposed opening date nor is it on any Capital Budgets.

Back to the 2018 Middle School Redistricting. Like the Elementary Schools, I have scaled back the redistricting plans to only include what is very absolutely necessary. In areas that are crowded and will become crowded without nearby capacity, I have left these areas alone because when a new Middle School opens in that area, it will be redistricted yet again. Now, without further ado, I will introduce my redistricting plans region by region.

East Columbia 
I have selected East Columbia's Middle Schools to provide relief to the northeast. Both Oakland Mills and Owen Brown (Lake Elkhorn) can stand to grow in population and create balance not only in population but equity in construction funds. As I have stated before, I'm against building the addition on Ellicott Mills Middle to relieve its crowding and leaving Oakland Mills as a small old school. Instead, I propose tranferring the funds for the Ellicott Mills addition to the Oakland Mills MS Renovation project, and turning the renovation into a replacement school for Oakland Mills with a capacity of 662-701. The redistricting for Ellicott Mills to the now larger Oakland Mills will relieve its crowding.

Owen Brown (Lake Elkhorn) has a larger capacity in its current state but is under crowded. This is why I have proposed redistricting here from Mayfield Woods and Thomas Viaduct which will become over crowded again to balance out Owen Brown (Lake Elkhorn.)

West Columbia
I'm not proposing any redistricting in West Columbia. Although a replacement school for Wilde Lake Middle just opened and it's much larger than its predecessor, it is slated to become crowded in a few short years. Anything redistricted here from Harpers Choice will have to be redistricted yet again when that crowding comes to fruition. The solution for this is another replacement school. This time for Harpers Choice. This will ensure Harpers Choice doesn't become crowded again and may have room in future years to relieve Wilde Lake which without redistricting will still be over crowded.

Although Oakland Mills MS has relieved Ellicott Mills and Owen Brown (Lake Elkhorn) has begun to provide relief for Mayfield Woods and Thomas Viaduct, more relief will be needed. This time, Elkirdge Landing will lend a hand. There will be no changes to Bonnie Branch as it is balanced. When MS#21 opens, there will need to be additional redistricting in the northeast but nothing that is slated to be redistricted now will be redistricted again.

No redistricting is proposed for the northern region even though there is a lot of crowding in the coming years for Middle Schools here. There are however, some capital improvement projects on the way which will up the capacity in this area and begin to relieve crowding. Both Dunloggin and Patapsco have renovations and additions proposed. I would like both of those projects to be converted to replacement schools. Any redistricting in this area can be done after those schools open. MS#22 will be needed in this area as well to relieve Burliegh Manor and Mount View.

No redistricting other than the small Hammond MS/Oakland Mills MS adjustment discussed in the East Columbia section. MS#21 will solve additional crowding in this area when it opens.

The western region has space in its Middle Schools as well. Lime Kiln however is slated to become very crowded and will need its neighboring schools to provide relief for it. Clarksville MS and Folly Quarter will do just that. There will be no changes to Glenwood.

And this concludes the Middle School portion of my "Applying the Rules of Redistricting." In it I have provided some relief for some schools and increased the population for others. In other instances I left crowded areas alone that need an additional Middle School and/or are having their current school undergo a Capital Improvement Project in the coming years and using a wait and see approach. I have also advocated for school equity by suggesting replacement schools at Oakland Mills, Dunloggin, Patapsco, and Harpers Choice. Stay tuned for the High Schools.