Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced $22 million in funding to renovate the Faulkner Ridge Center to expand universal pre-K services. The county’s investment, in partnership with state, county and community leaders, is a major step toward the full implementation of the state-mandated Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

The Center was acquired by the Howard County Public School System in 1968 as Faulkner Ridge Elementary School. It closed and the building was repurposed in 1983, with a full vacancy occurring in 2011. Ball’s funding in his proposed fiscal 2024 Capital Budget will allow the building to be renovated, revitalized and reopened.

When completed, it will create 260 new seats for universal pre-K.

“Howard County is known for its world-class school system, due to our collective efforts to create the best teaching and learning environment for all our students and educators,” said Ball. “We know that the success of our students starts early with a strong educational foundation for our youngest learners. By expanding pre-K access for 3-and 4-year-olds, all our children will have more opportunity to begin kindergarten ready to learn.”

Ball’s allocation is part of the $35 million in state pass-through grant funding that was awarded to Howard County by the Maryland General Assembly in 2022. The funding is unique in that it requires no local matching funds.

When fully implemented in fiscal 2032, all 4-year-olds and 3-year-olds from low-income households will be able to attend the school for free, while all 4-year-olds who wish to attend must be enrolled as soon as fiscal 2026.