PISD Chief Financial Officer Randy McDowell, who also oversees the district’s facilities team, said the Feb. 14-19 winter storms damaged 46 campuses, five auxiliary buildings and both Clark and Kimbrough stadiums.
“It has been a big job getting everything repaired, and in some cases, the full extent of the damage is still being looked into,” McDowell said during the March 2 PISD board of trustees meeting.
McDowell said the district saw about 225,000 square feet of water damage at its facilities from fire suppression system breaks, damage to HVAC systems and leaks from standard water pipes.
“At last count, we had 165 different domestic water leaks,” McDowell said. “Those are typically in a wall somewhere, in a restroom or going to a water fountain. Some of those go undetected for a while until you start seeing [water] coming out somewhere.”
He said the district may also be able to recover some of its $100,000 deductible from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the state. McDowell explained the Texas Education Agency is conducting a survey of estimated remediation costs for school districts in order to give a report to the state Legislature.
“I'm sure there'll be a lot of hoops to jump through to make all that happen,” he said. “But the good news is it doesn't appear that we're going to be out a significant amount of money out of our budget.”
The board recognized McDowell and the facilities team for their efforts in getting the district ready for 68 of its schools to open Feb. 22. The five schools that did not reopen Feb. 22—Barksdale Elementary, Gulledge Elementary, Hickey Elementary, Sigler Elementary and Clark High School—reopened for in-person classes Feb. 23.
Superintendent Sara Bonser said the facilities team worked around the clock during the storm to prevent damage and respond when it did occur.
“They were making hard decisions and managing a situation that I don't think anyone could have imagined happening in the state of Texas,” Bonser said. “I want to express my personal gratitude for a job well done. I know that you all had your own personal weather-related situations to deal with ... but you put the needs of the district first.”