For 20 years, The Centrum served as a cornerstone for the Spring and Klein community, hosting both church services for the Cypress Creek Christian Church and Community Center and performing arts events for local organizations, such as the Cypress Creek Foundation for the Arts and Community Enrichment, prior to Hurricane Harvey. After being flooded with 2.5 feet of water, the 21,000-square-foot venue has since been closed to the public during ongoing renovations and negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
After receiving a $1.09 million grant from FEMA last May and hosting a fundraiser last summer, Norma Lowrey, the executive director of the Cypress Creek Christian Church and Community Center, said church officials were able to begin construction on the $2.7 million project last August.
“I’m just excited to get to this point,” Lowrey said. “I think [The Centrum reopening] will give the community a shot in the arm because for the past three or four years, there has not been a space like this, and users had to go to different facilities. It’s just one more step in recovery from Harvey.”
Improvements at The Centrum include an upgraded catering kitchen, the addition of a greenroom with dressing rooms and television monitors, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms, a renovated bridal suite, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, and new theater seating, among other enhancements. The venue also traded its burgundy color scheme for cooler blue and gray tones.
The revitalized Centrum also features a $330,000 floodgate system, watertight doors and sealing walls to make the venue more resilient in the event of another flood. Appliances, such as air conditioning units, have also been raised 3 feet above ground level, and hallways that had previously been carpeted are now tiled for additional flood-resiliency measures.
Although renovations are continuing to wrap up as of mid-July, the Centrum reopened for Easter Sunday service earlier this year and hosted its first event June 18, a graduation ceremony for the Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Services. In time for its 25th anniversary, Cypress Creek FACE will also return to The Centrum with its 2021-22 Star-Lit Series, which will run Oct. 16-May 14.
“We are excited to announce we will be back in The Centrum for our 25th anniversary season, 2021-22,” said Nanci Decker, Cypress Creek FACE executive director, in a statement. “When we lost The Centrum to flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, we thought that was hard, but being forced to close down by a pandemic for over a year has been heartbreaking. Now that the pandemic numbers are down and The Centrum is being renovated again, we are extremely excited to be presenting performances again.”
Originally anticipated to open by Christmas 2020, Lowrey said a shortage of labor and materials due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has delayed The Centrum’s reopening. Custom-built items, such as the facility’s 12 air conditioning units and lighting and sound systems, have also slowed the process, she said.
“I think people, just in this last year, have been missing this kind of experience,” Senior Minister Bruce Frogge said. “At this point, I don’t even think people care what the concert is; they just want to gather with people and participate in something.”
Church officials said a donor appreciation event is planned for early September with a grand opening celebration to follow. For more information about booking The Centrum for an event, call 281-376-7121 or visit www.thecypresscreekcenter.org/the-centrum.