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Developers Pitch New School South of Piney Orchard

The Two Rivers project calls for more than 2,000 new homes. The builders said they'll pay $38 million to accommodate new elementary school students from the project.

Developers Pitch New School South of Piney Orchard

A team of developers on Wednesday are expected to present plans to build an elementary school to accommodate a new community near the border of Crofton and southern Odenton.

Officials from Koch Homes and Classic Community Cos. said they are prepared to spend more than $38 million for the school, which would be built in the new Two Rivers Community, just to the west of the Waugh Chapel Town Centre.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education will review the proposal at its meeting Wednesday.

Follow Odenton-Severn Patch on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the minute updates from the meeting.

The Two Rivers development calls for 2,060 single-family homes over 1,500 acres, with construction set to begin in 2014 and extending to 2023. The project was initially planned as a community for people aged 55 and older, but now the developers said they intend to open it to everyone. Thus, a new school is needed.

“As it turns out, given the changes in the economy, demographics and other things, it no longer made sense,” to build a 55-and-over community, said Michael Leahey, an attorney for the development group.

Leahey said the Two Rivers Project will result in a projected 373 new students to the area. However, the proposed school will be large enough to accommodate 700.

“The school system has a template for how they want to build elementary schools, and that template presumes about 700 students,” Leahey said. “We want to build what they believe fits their needs over time. We’re never planning on this community filling the school.”

Students at the new school would feed into and schools.

Plans call for the school to be 90,000 square feet with 32 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, lab space and an area for before- and after-school care. The schools will be modeled after the newer Rolling Knolls and Lothian elementary schools.

Plans also call for Evergreen Road to be extended into Piney Orchard at Strawberry Lake Way, possibly cutting through GORC Park. This extension would eliminate the need for school buses to travel onto Maryland Route 3, people with knowledge of the project said.

The developers are seeking approval from the school board of the concept plan. If the board votes in favor, there will then be discussions and a vote on a construction agreement.

The board could vote on the concept plan Wednesday, but also could decide to vote at a later date.

Some community members have voiced concerns about the project, citing concerns over a lack of public discussion in advance. They also expressed concern over plans for the extension of Evergreen Road.

Officials from Piney Orchard, just to the north of Two Rivers, have urged the board to postpone a vote.

“This proposal is extremely troublesome and controversial given the lack of transparency in its development and its inclusion, without any prior public discussion, of a proposed road extension of Evergreen Road from Route 3 to Strawberry Lake Way through GORC Park and into the heart of the Piney Orchard Community,” Piney Orchard Community Association President Jeff Andrade said in a letter to the board.

It also is unclear whether the plans have the full support of the Forks of the Patuxent Community Association, which had supported the Two Rivers plan when it was designed as a 55-and-over community.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools is not a stranger to seeing developers pay large sums of money to build schools. Earlier this year, the school board approved a plan to allow the developer of Arundel Preserve

In 2010, Koch Homes paid for an addition at Broadneck High School to allow for construction of new homes in that area.

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The Anne Arundel County Board of Education will meet Wednesday at 10 a.m. at 2644 Riva Rd., Annapolis. There will be time set aside for public comment. A full agenda of the meeting is available at aacps.org.

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