The county is buying 126 acres of farmland in South Carroll and setting it aside as a site for up to three schools.
The county expects to settle on the property for $788,900 with current owner Daniel Dulany this month, said Isaac Menasche, assistant county attorney.
The land is on Old Liberty Road, near Linton Road.
No specific schools are planned for the site now, said Kathleen Sanner, assistant for school facilities. But the land will be there when needed, and the rate of growth in South Carroll indicates it probably will be needed, she said.
"We have a 10-year master plan, but every year we revise it," Ms. Sanner said.
She said there have been cases in which schools had to be designed before the land was purchased, and times when last-minute adjustments had to be made to architectural drawings to fit the land purchased.
"Land-banking is something the school system would encourage the county to do," Ms. Sanner said. "In other counties, land-banking is a pretty common practice."
State requirements for school construction call for at least 50 acres for a high school, 20 acres for a middle school and 10 for an elementary school, Mr. Menasche said. It is possible the land could hold schools at all three levels, he said.
Ms. Sanner said the next project planned for South Carroll will be the Oklahoma Middle School. That school already is set to go on Oklahoma Road, behind the McDonald's fast-food restaurant in Eldersburg.
The school system's master plan calls for a new high school in South Carroll but not within the next 10 years, she said.