Humble ISD board discusses damages, declares emergency for winter storm, hires new contractor for flood barrier project

The carpet in a hallway at Humble High School was quickly removed due to a sprinkler head that froze and burst during the winter storm. (Courtesy Humble ISD)
The carpet in a hallway at Humble High School was quickly removed due to a sprinkler head that froze and burst during the winter storm. (Courtesy Humble ISD)

The carpet in a hallway at Humble High School was quickly removed due to a sprinkler head that froze and burst during the winter storm. (Courtesy Humble ISD)

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Flooring and baseboards in the Atascocita Middle School's choir room were damaged by water. Preparations are underway to install new flooring in the affected areas. (Courtesy Humble ISD)
At the Feb. 23 Humble ISD board of trustees meeting, district officials provided further information on damages caused by Winter Storm Uri; additionally, trustees declared a state of emergency due to the storm and approved hiring a new contractor for the Kingwood High School flood barrier project.

While only three HISD schools received significant damage because of water systems freezing and breaking amid freezing temperatures, 22 of the district's 44 campuses and three of its five facility buildings suffered damages, said Nolan Correa, HISD associate superintendent of operational support service. Additionally, 10 buses suffered cracked radiators, and some cafeterias lost some of their perishable food, he said.

The district is working with an insurance adjuster, and the cost of damages is not yet available, according to HISD Chief Communications Officer Jamie Mount.

Humble High School, Atascocita Middle School and Deerwood Elementary School were the three schools that took on more significant water damage due to water systems freezing and breaking. Students who would normally attend classes in the damaged areas of the buildings will be temporarily relocated to other parts of the buildings as repairs happen, officials said.

A fire sprinkler froze and burst at Humble High School, causing damage in six classrooms as well as the dance hall and the JROTC area; a broken hose connector on an exterior wall burst at Atascocita Middle School and damaged the band hall, choir room and woodshop; and an exterior pipe broke and caused water damage along the second-grade hallway at Deerwood Elementary School.

Trustees also approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency in the district due to the winter storm. This allows the district to apply for a waiver from the Texas Education Agency to make up for lost instruction time as well as to apply for any available federal and state disaster-related funding.

Trustees also voted unanimously to rescind the district's $30 million contract with Rogers O'Brien Construction for a project that will create flood barriers at Kingwood High School. Instead, trustees approved a contract with Flintco LLC for the project.

Mount said Flintco LLC will build the flood barriers for $14.3 million, but the district will soon bid other portions of the project that make up the remainder of the $30 million, such as drainage improvements and entry and exit renovations.

In mid-November, the district approved Rogers O'Brien Construction as the contractor for renovations on Kingwood High School, flood barriers on Kingwood High School and renovations to Kingwood Park High School. According to the HISD board meeting agenda packet, the district was informed in late December that the floodgate manufacturer proposed by Rogers O'Brien Construction was not a supplier approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is funding a majority of the project.

While Rogers O'Brien Construction has withdrawn its bid for the flood barriers, the company will continue its renovation projects at Kingwood and Kingwood Park high schools, Mount said.
By Kelly Schafler

Editor, Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood

Kelly Schafler is the editor for the Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood edition of Community Impact Newspaper, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she became editor, she was the reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition for a year and a half.


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