On Nov. 6, Humble ISD announced their plans for Kingwood High School to reopen March 19. At that time, KHS students will be back in the academic wing for classes at their home campus, and Summer Creek High School (SCHS) students will finish the year with full-time access to their own campus.
Parents received their first construction update Oct. 10, prior to the monthly school board meeting. Some upset parents spoke at that meeting regarding the seemingly slow construction timeline and the lack of communication about campus progress, but since then, parents of both high schools have received periodic updates. The district reports that work is progressing well on the restoration of the campus after flooding.
Classrooms are being painted. Floors have been scrubbed and sanded. The cafeteria is being reconstructed. Desks are awaiting inspection. Sport fields and practice areas are being cleaned. And there’s lots – and lots – of sheetrock.
Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen commented on the March date.
“From the beginning, we heard from students who had envisioned their senior year on their campus. It’s always been on our minds to make that happen for Kingwood High School seniors if it was safe to do so. Restoration has now progressed to where we can look forward to March 19. Summer Creek and Kingwood students, staffs and families have been extraordinary in making the best out of unprecedented challenges,” said Fagen.
When students return to Kingwood High School this spring, the second, third and fourth floors, cafeteria and commons area will be fully restored. Fine arts and athletic facilities, including locker rooms, will be utilized by students, but not all areas will be fully restored until later in the summer. The most extensive flood damage was sustained on the first floor.
Pam McNair is a KHS parent and said, “I am happy to know there is an end in sight for the daily commute, but I’m grateful to SCHS for opening their home to our kids and helping us in our time of need. Dr. Fagen and staff have worked very hard to bring KHS back to the kids and community. They have done a great job communicating about the progress being made, and as a parent, I couldn’t be more happy to hear they will be in their own school again very soon.”
Suzanne Snell is another KHS freshman parent who said, “I am very excited to see the students will be moving back to their home schools. Every time a Kingwood business opens, it feels good! It’s nice to have our home town back.” Snell said that she hopes the fine arts and athletic areas will fully reopen as close to March 19 as possible so that students can fully engage in those activities.
Some parents, like KHS parent Tamara Waguespack, remain cautiously optimistic that the campus will be ready in March.
“It seems a bit early to be making this determination. I believe it will be a huge adjustment for students to return to a normal class schedule at this late date, especially the freshmen. But I know everyone at KHS, particularly the seniors, are looking forward to coming ‘home.’ We just want to ensure students are returning to a clean, safe learning environment,” Waguespack said.
SCHS parents Steven Goldstein, Raquel Rodriguez Fuentes and Zoya Osipova echoed those sentiments. “While we are happy for KHS students, we would prefer the district not make a schedule change so late in the academic year,” these parents said.
Kathleen Jordan is a KHS parent who carpools to SCHS on a daily basis.
Jordan said, “I am ready for the students to be back at KHS, as long as it is safe for students and staff. The students will have to adjust to full days again, but they can handle it.”
SCHS parent Nick Bigney said, “We are happy to have helped in some small way. Moving back in March is a huge step in Kingwood’s recovery. I personally will be a bit sad to see KHS students go. My daughter has loved the interaction with these students. But we are only a little sad because the ties and friendships we’ve gained will last far past March 19.”
Humble ISD balanced the desire to move back to the campus with safety, student learning and extracurricular activities. Factors influencing the decision to move back in by March 19 will be presented at the Nov. 14 school board meeting. Humble ISD will continue to issue weekly updates regarding the campus restoration process.