Executive Director of Safety and Operations Erich Kreiter told trustees at a Feb. 22 board workshop that a staff of about 25 people has been continually working on repairs. None of the damage sustained to buildings was due to negligence or a lack of preparation, he said; some water lines were triple-insulated and still froze.
Kreiter and Superintendent Thad Roher both emphasized that the district is fighting for resources along with more than 1,000 of the state’s other school districts, several of which will not be able to return to in-person schooling before next month.
“It’s another big blow to education,” Roher said.
Repairs have been made to the Windsong Intermediate, Westwood Elementary and Bales Intermediate campuses, Kreiter said; in some cases, fixes were temporary in order to restore normal school operations, and permanent repairs are lined up for the weekend of Feb. 26. All heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment is now operating properly, minus some that needs repair at Cline Elementary, which will be taken care of this weekend, he said.
A handful of FISD staffers are dealing with significant damage to their properties, district leaders said. The district is sending resources to those staffers where possible and will cover for them internally if they need to take time off to meet contractors and otherwise focus on home repairs. This grace period for repairs will be extended through spring break, Roher said.
Given the ongoing presence of COVID-19 and the fallout of the winter storm, Board President Tony Hopkins encouraged district leaders to write to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath and Texas Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, to call for the cancellation of the annual STAAR assessments.
Other business: bond progress
District leaders, trustees and partnering architects also discussed takeaways from recent benchmark tours at the Feb. 22 workshop. The tours, conducted as part of the planning process for bond execution, took place at three area high schools, where committee members examined spaces for athletics and performing arts.
The tours were taken at Kinder High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Houston, Jordan High School in Fulshear and Klein High School in Klein. Those involved took note of the way each space was structured, what materials were used to construct the space and what kind of capacity the spaces had.
More than $50 million of the $128 million bond approved by voters in November is to be used for high school additions and renovations, including a new auditorium and competition gym. District leaders envision the new performing arts center becoming a creative hub for Friendswood High School and the surrounding community.
“I now think I have a vision for what facilities can be that I didn’t have before,” Hopkins said at the conclusion of the Feb. 22 bond discussion.