Kolter Elementary is 1 of 4 hurricane-damaged schools that the Houston district plans to rebuild.

Houston board approves plans to demolish and rebuild 4 hurricane-damaged schools

Dec. 15, 2017
$126 million plan calls for buildings that will be elevated to prevent a recurrence of flooding

UPDATE: The Houston school board has approved a $126 million plan to demolish and rebuild four aging elementary schools that sustained flooding damage during Hurricane Harvey.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the board voted 8-0 in favor of the district administration's plan for Braeburn, Kolter, Mitchell and Scarborough elementary schools. The buildings will be constructed on existing campuses, and the structures will be elevated to stave off future flooding.

Each new campus is estimated to cost up to $30 million. A $6 million construction contingency is included in the price tag.

The construction schedule will displace students from their home campuses until at least 2020.

All four campuses set for demolition were built between 1956 and 1966, when local building codes didn't require higher elevations inside floodplains. Three of the four campuses are inside the 100-year floodplain.

EARLIER The Houston district has proposed a $126 million plan to rebuild four elementary schools ruined earlier this year by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the four campuses would be demolished and rebuilt at their existing locations.

"Based on the catastrophic flood damage and the elevation increase each campus would need to prevent future flooding, we've decided that the best use of...resources is to rebuild these four buildings," says the district's chief operating officer, Brian Busby.

Students attending the four schools have been housed in temporary locations from four to 11 miles away from their home campus since September. The enrollment at the four schools totaled 2,870 students in 2016-17.

All four campuses were constructed between 1956 and 1966. Mitchell and Scarborough elementary schools received about $8.7 million in renovations and upgrades as part of the district's 2007 bond package.

Three other Houston district schools that remain closed will not be demolished under the plan, district officials have decided. Students are expected to return to Robinson Elementary School after the winter break, district officials say, and renovations at Hilliard Elementary are ongoing. The district leased the building that was home to Liberty High School, and administrators are considering plans for a future campus. 

District officials expect that virtually all storm-related costs will be covered through insurance, Federal Emergency Management Agency funds and state aid. As the district awaits reimbursement for costs, the $126 million for reconstruction would be paid out of the district's "rainy day" reserves and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone funds.

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