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Ducketts Lane Elementary School

Ellicott City, Maryland




105,000 sf, 600 students




New Construction


Green Apple Day of Service Award

Children learn not only from the teacher in the classroom but also from the everyday experiences that surround them. Ducketts Lane Elementary School reflects Howard County Public Schools’ educational priorities through interior and exterior learning environments that harness the building and site as teaching tools.

Educational signage showcases sustainable features, and provides links to the curriculum. Opportunities for interactive learning abound, including a boardwalk with overlook along the stormwater management pond, an outdoor classroom courtyard with seating and shading, a nature path along the bioretention swales exhibiting natural planting, and a science courtyard with a rainchain leading to a touching pool.

The design team worked directly with educators to organize the school into classroom clusters that define small learning communities which share both public and acoustically private breakout spaces. Clusters provide students with smaller learning communities with which they can identify. Each cluster is designed with built-in seating, glass in classrooms to allow openness and connection, skylights for natural light, and signage that provides each grade with its individual mascot.

Learning Commons

A naturally-daylit media center provides built-in seating along the expansive window wall overlooking the playground and ballfields and forest.

Bridges between the classroom wings on the second floor allow for breakout space and individual work space, overlook the activity areas of the gym and cafeteria, and provide a view of the vegetative roof located on the building’s first floor.

This has become Howard County's showplace of what a sustainable 21st Century educational model loooks like. The school has piloted technology and instructional models which are now being implemented throughout the school system. 

Chief Facilities Officer, Howard County Public Schools

Closing Thoughts

Learning that surrounds you. The Classroom clusters, the quality of the views, and access to natural light drove the primary form of the building.


Wintergreen Award


Green Apple Day of Service Event Award

USGBC Center for Green Schools