The 434th District Court in Fort Bend County approved a petition from Fort Bend ISD Monday, allowing for the exhumation of the human remains uncovered on the construction site of the new James Reese Career and Technical Center at University Boulevard and Chatham Avenue, according to a released statement from the school district.
FBISD announced the discovery of a historic cemetery at the site in April and has been working under the guidance of the Texas Historical Commission to address the situation, according to the statement. Archaeologists have established the burial site's perimeter and found a total of 94 graves. After exhumation, forensic experts will examine the remains to determine the sex, age, race, medical condition and potential causes of death of the deceased individuals.
“We are appreciative of the Texas Historical Commission’s guidance during this process, and we hope to begin further analysis soon to ensure that we are properly honoring the deceased and identifying an appropriate location for reinterment,” FBISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said in the statement. “As the process to learn more about this site continues, we remain committed to honoring the history of those buried at the site.”
After experts complete their investigation, the next step would be to determine what will happen to the remains, said Amanda Bubela, FBISD director of external communications and media relations. Reburial will require another court order.
Construction work on the site continues in the areas not affected by archaeological work, according to FBISD. The James Reese Career and Technical Center is still anticipated to open at the start of the 2019-20 school year as planned, Bubela said.