Houston, Texas’ Kingwood High School received $25 million in funding to construct flood gates and waterproof the school.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $25 million in funding to construct flood gates and waterproof Kingwood High School in Houston, Texas, to protect against future storms.
“Now, every time that the students experience a water event, they are wondering and worrying ‘Will this mean we’ll be displaced, we’ll have to share facilities,’ all these things,” said Humble Independent School District (ISD) Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen to the Houston Chronicle. “We believe in letting them know that we put measures in place so their school will not be inoperable.”
It cost $63 million to restore Kingwood High after Hurricane Harvey, reported the Houston Chronicle. In the six months it took to fix the building, students were sent to Summer Creek High School.
The $25 million from FEMA will cover approximately 90% of the cost to build the flood control system and the school district will pay the remaining $3 million.
Kingwood has been a repeat victim of flooding in recent years, according to the Houston Chronicle. After Hurricane Harvey, Fagen and her administrative team at Humble ISD sought out solutions to prevent flood damage to the high school from future storms.
The team considered demolishing the whole building and rebuilding it on raised land retrofitted with an underground water retention system, which could have cost more than $260 million. They also considered building walls or levees around the school.
The district ended up working with FEMA to design a series of flood gates and waterproofing plan for the building exterior. The goal is to make the gates largely invisible during dry times, but rise as high as eight feet when necessary, reported the Houston Chronicle.
“We’re basically going to design the building like an inverted bathtub,” said PBK CEO Dan Boggio. “We want to keep the water out.”
The flood mitigation systems will not be ready until 2022, reported the Houston Chronicle.