At the height of Hurricane Harvey flooding, Brookside Intermediate School was inundated with anywhere from 2 to 4 feet of water, officials said.
What has happened since is nothing short of a miracle, Principal Lauren Berryman-Ambeau said.
In less than a week, campus officials, with a mishmash of volunteers and contractors and bringing in a variety of supplies and furniture from other facilities, prepared the Friendswood school to open Sept. 11, like the other facilities in Clear Creek Independent School District.
“We wanted the community to feel like it had a safe place,” Berryman-Ambeau said. “It’s hard for parents and kids watching the rest of the world return to normal when you’re living in your fifth hotel since the storm.”
There are still a lot of repairs to do, Berryman-Ambeau said. But by Sept. 12, students ran through the halls and the campus had returned to some sense of normalcy.
Officials in school districts and campuses across Galveston County find themselves in similar positions — trying to conduct repairs while bringing classes back to normal.
Friendswood, League City and Dickinson were among the cities hardest hit by the massive flooding caused by Harvey’s torrential rain, and many residents were forced to evacuate.
At districts and campuses in those communities, officials were left wondering how to put it all back again.
“Brookside is our biggest problem,” said Paul Miller, director of facility services at Clear Creek Independent School District.
Harvey damaged 44 of the district’s 45 schools, but most of the damage was minor, officials said.
While officials focus significant attention to Brookside and several athletic facilities, there is not yet a firm date for when all of the repairs might be finished, Miller said.
“FEMA wants things a certain way, so we’re going to have to put out a request for proposals,” Miller said. “We’re hoping to be able to get those bid out and started working in the next several weeks.”
Shortages of materials and labor could slow the process once the contractors are in place, Miller said.
“In a lot of cases, we don’t necessarily shop in the same places as other homeowners do,” Miller said. “Some differences there might temper some of the impact.”
District officials are hopeful that Brookside will be repaired either by spring break or winter break, with other repairs finished about the same time, Miller said.
While all repairs might not be made for some time, teachers at Brookside Intermediate School already have a sense of peace now that they are back on the campus, Berryman-Ambeau said.
“Learning may be secondary for a while,” she said. “The students’ needs come first.”