Lone Star College Kingwood’s Henry Garcia, left, has party plans in mind when the Kingwood campus officially reopens for the second semester in 2019, while Humble ISD’s Dr. Roger Brown wants to thank Lake Houston taxpayers for supporting local schools during a difficult year. With them at the Kingwood BizCom is Clarissa Perez, north sector manager for Houston City Councilmember Dave Martin. Photo by Tom Broad

Lone Star College plans to “roll out the red carpet” Feb. 15 when the ribbon is cut to officially open the Kingwood campus for second semester classes.

Henry Garcia, executive director of college relations for the Kingwood campus, extended the invitation during the Lake Houston Chamber’s Kingwood BizCom held Dec. 6 at Kingwood High School.

– Ribbon cutting ceremony in February –

“We learned two things after Hurricane Harvey devastated our campus 14 months ago,” Garcia said. “First, we can continue to educate our students even during tough situations like Harvey and, second, we’ve learned how resilient we are.”

“Crews are working day and night to prepare the seven damaged buildings,” Garcia said, as a video played for attendees showing campus President Dr. Katherine Persson revealing the havoc caused by floodwaters and sewage in the aftermath of Harvey.

“Frankly, we’ll look like a new college for the 13,000 students we expect to enroll this spring,” Garcia said. “Lone Star-Kingwood is coming back better than ever.”

Humble ISD, on the other hand, has sold $125 million in bonds to finance major safety improvements and construct new buildings as part of a $575-million bond package approved by voters in May.

New field turf is being installed at the district’s high schools and land has been purchased at Ford Road and Mill’s Branch in order to move the Kingwood Ag Barn to higher ground and construct a second transportation center that, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Roger Brown said, will save millions of dollars due to shorter response times.

The financing also will rebuild Lakeland Elementary, the district’s oldest building, and build a new elementary school in Lakewood Pines.

“Thank you for your support in a difficult year,” Brown said.

It has also been a difficult year for the Lake Houston Family YMCA.

“We had to learn how to serve our community without buildings,” Executive Director Chris Butsch told BizCom attendees. “We had to think outside the box, so we developed a partnership with Humble ISD to provide swimming lessons for second-grade students at Lakeland Elementary.”

The program was so successful in teaching students to “…get out of the water safely…” that Butsch said the program will be extended to Lakeland first-graders.

While Hurricane Harvey destroyed the YMCA building, Phase 2 of the rebuilding is almost complete with six additional rooms to open in January and the final phase, the complete refurbishing and rebuilding of the Lake Houston Y, will be completed by Spring Break 2019.

“We’ll expand another 10,000 square feet to 60,000 when we reopen,” Busch said.

Expansion is underway at Kingwood Medical Center, too. Hospital Assistant Administrator Justin Brewer reported that the hospital is pursuing Level 2 Trauma Center designation, and will house 43 medical residents receiving training in emergency medicine, internal medicine and general surgery.

“This is quite a win for Lake Houston,” Brewer said, “because medical residents tend to locate their medical practice where they train.”

Kingwood Medical Center also was graded “A” in patient safety for the third time by The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that grades more than 2,400 hospitals for their safety.

“We also were recognized by Leapfrog Group for hospital safety as a 2018 Top General Hospital, one of only four in Texas and 35 hospitals in the entire nation,” he said.

Houston Police Officer Daniel Von Quintus offered common-sense safety tips when Lake Houston residents go shopping.

“Before you put your credit card into a slot at the gas pump, see if it moves,” Von Quintus advised. “If it does, it may be a skimmer. Go into the gas station first and report it. We’ll check it out.”

Von Quintus also recommended that homeowners bag the boxes of big-ticket items like big-screen televisions before putting them out for garbage pickup.

“That’s a clue for a burglar to break into your home,” he said.

The next Kingwood BizCom will be April 4 at Kingwood Park High School. There is no charge, but registration is required. To register for the Humble, Kingwood, Atascocita or Summer Creek BizComs, visit lakehouston.org.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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