Cy-Fair ISD officials: Winter storm caused $5M-$6M in damages

Restoration crews at Swenke Elementary School work to clean up water from the floors following freezing temperatures this week that caused pipe damage to campuses. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
Restoration crews at Swenke Elementary School work to clean up water from the floors following freezing temperatures this week that caused pipe damage to campuses. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)

Restoration crews at Swenke Elementary School work to clean up water from the floors following freezing temperatures this week that caused pipe damage to campuses. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)

Winter Storm Uri caused millions of dollars in damages, Cy-Fair ISD officials said at a special-called board meeting Feb. 23 intended to bring trustees up to date on the effects the winter weather event had on campuses.

A total of 62 campuses and 12 support facilities had damages ranging from minor leaks to flooding due to burst water lines, Chief Operations Officer Roy Sprague said. Additionally, 66 portable buildings at elementary schools were damaged, and 20 of them are still unusable as of noon on Feb. 23—the same day students returned to campuses for the first time since Feb. 11.

Students were not able to return, however, to Swenke Elementary School, which had a water line burst on an exterior wall and had as much as 3 inches of water flood two-thirds of the campus, according to Matt Morgan, assistant superintendent for facilities and construction.

These students are learning remotely, and staff members are working out of the Berry Center through the end of this week as crews continue air testing and other cleanup efforts.

CFISD officials said they expect the cost of damages to total $5 million-$6 million, but most will be covered by the district’s insurance policy, which has a $100,000 deductible, Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith said.

“Our biggest challenge right now is resources,” Sprague said. “Everybody in the state’s going after the same resources we are and the same parts. You can’t find a plumbing part anywhere in the city or in the state right now.”


Superintendent Mark Henry and trustees commended the efforts of the operations staff and contracted crews who made temporary repairs and provisions for students to resume classes as soon as they did.

In addition to Swenke, other facilities with notable damages included Langham Creek High School, Cypress Ridge High School and Pridgeon Stadium.

Both high schools will have ongoing repairs to their auditoriums, Morgan said, and Langham Creek had a couple of inches of water come in to a portion of the first floor and administration area. Carpet has since been replaced; furniture was sanitized; and the air quality was tested before students and employees returned, he said.

A water line burst in the press box at Pridgeon Stadium, and Morgan said repairs will be made once water damage remediation efforts are complete.
By Danica Lloyd

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.