ELLICOTT CITY, MD. -- -- Howard County's school superintendent has warned home builders and real estate agents to inform perspective house buyers that there may not be enough classroom space in public schools for their children.

Superintendent Michael Hickey wrote real estate agents about his concerns over the dramatic growth in the Savage and North Laurel areas and north of U.S. Rte. 40.

Hickey said the growth, combined with program improvements, has severely limited classroom space.

In high-growth areas, Hickey wrote, a "neighborhood that has been served by a particular school for a number of years faces the real possibility that it will be served by a different school next year or in the years following."

Hickey told real estate agents and builders that perspective buyers in those areas should be made aware of a shortage of local classroom space in order to "eliminate misunderstanding and dissatisfaction for both our benefits."

The notion of neighborhood schools will be "difficult, if not impossible, to maintain in its traditional sense under the kind of growth we are experiencing," he said.

But Hickey said that despite the classroom shortage, the county's schools offer a "high-quality and consistent educational program, even though each has its unique personality."

Richard Wilkinson, president of the real estate firm Urban Properties, based in Columbia, said he expects no problem complying with the superintendent's request.

David Noel, sales manager of Diversified Homes in Columbia, said salespeople are notifying clients "that they could be subject to redistricting, and we are giving them the phone number of the school board to check on schools in their area. Thus far, it has not had any impact on our sales at all."