Newly built bond schools fared well during Harvey

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As Hurricane Harvey brought devastating 500-year flooding to much of the city last fall, new schools built as part of HISD’s Bond Program stood strong in the face of the storm, sustaining minimal to no damage.

Assessments made at all HISD facilities in the wake of the storm determined that schools built as part of the 2007 or 2012 Bond Programs fared extremely well.

“We were very pleased with the performance of all our schools from this bond and the last one in 2007,” General Manager of Facilities Design Dan Bankhead said. “The minor issues resulting from the hurricane that we did experience were quickly resolved.”

Bankhead said the issues were focused mostly on minor indoor puddling caused by wind-driven rain coming in through doors or windows seals and damage to ceiling tiles, which were easily replaced.

Out of both the 2007 and 2012 bond programs, just one school — Billy Reagan K-8 Educational Center — experienced any noteworthy flooding. At Billy Reagan, a portion of the gym flooded. However, workers were able to clean up the water and make small repairs while the district was closed for two weeks due to the storm.

Bond schools that were under construction when Hurricane Harvey hit also performed well, with the biggest impact on schedules. As many crew members tended to their own personal losses, the team saw worker shortages that led to some delayed schedules.

“The storm had very little impact on construction,” General Manager of Construction Andreas Peeples said. “We got back to work soon after the flood, and we’ve long since made up any schedule delays.”

Moving forward, Bankhead said, new schools will be built higher to meet the new standards adopted by the City of Houston. Also, future project designs will be evaluated through the lens of Harvey.

“As we develop and update building standards, we will certainly review them with events like Harvey in mind,” Bankhead said. “Overall, I’m very pleased with the quality of construction in the bond schools and how we were able to resolve the minor damage we did have.  I’m excited to be able to open another batch of schools this fall.”