Klein ISD town hall meeting addresses concerns about Lemm Elementary School construction

Lemm students are attending class at their temporary campus at Klein Cain High School.

Lemm students are attending class at their temporary campus at Klein Cain High School.

Klein ISD officials held a town hall meeting Feb. 15 to address questions from the community about renovations at Lemm Elementary School, which sustained flood damage during Hurricane Harvey.

The school has been closed since taking in about 6-8 inches of water during the August floods, and it is set to reopen in August for the 2018-19 school year. Currently, Lemm Elementary School students are attending classes at Klein Cain High School, which opened in August. Only ninth- and 10th-graders are enrolled in the high school in its first year, leaving enough space to house the elementary school students.

KISD Superintendent Bret Champion said there seemed to be confusion in the community regarding the renovation timeline. He said the district held the Feb. 15 meeting to provide the community with a clear timeline for construction.

At its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 12, the KISD board of trustees approved construction documents for Lemm Elementary School and also authorized Champion the ability to negotiate and execute a contract with a construction company, which KISD plans to do around March 5-7, he said.

After a contractor is chosen, the first step in the construction process is to repair the roof, he said.

Robert Robertson, KISD associate superintendent of facility and school services, said construction crews working on the roof can only remove what they are able to replace the same day, in case it rains. Robertson said a crew can remove and replace 2,000 square feet of roof in one day, meaning the district will need multiple crews working to complete the roof by its goal date, March 20.

In addition to repairing flood damage, KISD will upgrade the interior of the 35-year-old school. This includes a new entranceway, new classrooms, a new cafeteria and a new library. The school’s interior construction and renovations will begin after the roof is complete, officials said.

Although the school had flood insurance, the school’s library—which is accessed by several downward steps—was not covered because Federal Emergency Management Agency classified it as a basement, officials said. However, Robertson said KISD has received $3.8 million in insurance payments so far.

Lemm Elementary School Principal Kathy Brown said the school received a $150,000 donation to cover the restoration and renovation of the library.

If construction is not completed in time for the August opening, Champion said the district is considering multiple contingency plans. For example, the plan would be much different if construction is delayed by months or weeks.

Lemm Elementary School was slated to be a polling place in the March 6 primary election, but school officials said it will not serve in that capacity due to the ongoing construction. For a non-comprehensive list of early voting and election day polling locations, click here.


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