School districts across Houston area damaged after winter storm

HOUSTON – Busted pipes from winter weather are not just impacting homes, but school districts across Southeast Texas.

Dozens of campuses in many districts have suffered some type of damage. Maintenance crews in many of those districts are working overtime to access the damage and begin the cleanup process.

Katy Independent School District is reporting that 75% of its buildings suffered some kind of damage following this week’s sub-freezing temperatures, including Schmalz Elementary. A pipe burst in a closet in one of the music classrooms, sending water gushing onto the floor, flooding at least two classrooms leaving crews no choice but to rip up the carpet and tear out some of the sheetrock.

“We can get them serviceable for Monday so kids can get in there. We won’t have carpet down yet. We won’t have the sheetrock taped and floated, so it’ll be another week’s worth of work before we can get them back to where we really want them to be, maybe two weeks,” said Ted Vierling, chief operations officer at Katy ISD.

Katy ISD is not alone. Cy-Fair, Galveston, Goose Creek, Klein and Fort Bend ISD’s are all dealing with similar situations.

“We’ve got water lines that have flooded into some of the equipment in some of our schools and that’s creating some major repair issues,” said Dr. Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD superintendent.

District administrators are reaching out to staff to identify who is able to return to work next week. Fort Bend ISD hopes to resume normal operations on Monday but that decision won’t be made until Sunday night.

Cy-Fair ISD schools also stayed closed this week. Langham Creek High and Swenke Elementary after pipes burst in those two schools.

“We did have three buildings that some more extensive damage. We brought in outside contractors to assist us on. We’re also bringing in some other contractors to help us with some of the repairs throughout the district,” said Roy Sprague, with Cy-Fair ISD.

Fort Bend ISD hopes to have a better assessment of the damage tomorrow. Alief ISD says seven of its campuses have significant damage. Waller ISD is also reporting some damage.

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