HISD approves plan to rebuild 4 Harvey-damaged elementary schools

HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District Board of Education has approved a plan to rebuild four elementary schools damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

The schools include Braeburn, Scarborough, Kolter and Mitchell elementary schools.

The cost to replace the four schools is estimated at $126 million, which will be funded by a combination of operations reserves and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone funds.

“The damage to these four buildings was catastrophic,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said. “Our chief operating officer and his team looked at them and believed it would be the most effective use of HISD resources to tear down and rebuild. We look forward to getting these students back into their home campuses that will be better-equipped to sustain major storms in the future.”

The schools will be demolished and rebuilt on their current sites.

The new facilities could be completed and open to students in 2020.

The proposal also includes plans to elevate the schools, with hopes to avoid potential flooding in the future, a press release from HISD officials said.

Three additional HISD schools – Robinson and Hilliard elementary schools and Liberty High School – were also relocated as a result of the damage sustained during Hurricane Harvey.

Renovations at Robinson Elementary School are finishing this month and students are expected to return to campus Jan. 8 when they return from winter break.

Renovations at Hilliard are ongoing. District officials opted to renovate both schools because of the age and sustainability of both buildings.

Liberty High School had been located in a facility leased, but not owned, by HISD. The school was temporarily relocated to Sharpstown International School. District administrators now are reviewing long-term relocation options for the campus.

Also during the December meeting, the HISD Foundation announced a $4.7 million grant from Aramco Services Company for Harvey relief. The gift is designated for seven schools: Robinson, Scarborough, Hilliard, Braeburn, Kolter, and Mitchell elementary schools and Liberty High School.

Each school will receive a tech package worth $400,000 that includes laptops, iPads, and more. As part of the grant, Aramco also will fund needs for each school up to $300,000. Those needs include books, instructional supplies, tutoring services, and professional development for teachers.

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