The 14 ambitious construction projects currently underway at Humble ISD campuses are “… full speed ahead and we’re coming under budget.”
That was the optimistic assessment of Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen at the Virtual Atascocita BizCom June 10.
The projects include building a new Lakeland Elementary School and a new Kingwood Middle School, adding major new additions and renovations to Atascocita High and Humble High, and installing state-of-the-art flood gates at the perennially flooding Kingwood High School. The projects are funded by a $575 million bond issue approved by voters in 2018.
“We’re not building what we’ve always built in the same way we’ve always built,” said Fagen. “We’re being smart and maximizing the spaces available. The district is involved in a wonderful collaboration, working with students, the staff and our community. We’re being innovative and creating spaces for programs that our students haven’t had before.”
The construction projects are underway during a school year that Fagen termed “interesting” because district teachers and students found themselves switching to online teaching overnight.
The 2018 bond package was created from recommendations of a Citizens Bond Advisory Committee, 98 parents, residents, district employees, business leaders, community and leaders who answered a public request for six public sessions in the fall of 2017. Their recommendations to the Humble ISD board of trustees included building new schools, rebuilding aging facilities, renovating, and repairing existing school facilities, and updating technology and safety enhancements.
Fagen was elated as she describes each project during the Lake Houston Chamber’s Jan. 9 Humble BizCom. She previewed the new look for Lakeland Elementary, originally built in 1960 and currently Humble ISD’s oldest school. The new school was designed with input from Lakeland’s students, parents and faculty. It will be completed in time for August 2021 classes and will be home to a unique performing arts center.
At the same BizCom, Fagen unveiled the impressive new look of Humble High School when its $35 million renovation is completed in 2022 resulting in a new library, cafeteria, gym and major exterior makeover.
“The students in our district experiencing these schools are going to love them,” she said. “They’re going to love the space. They’re going to love learning in these spaces, and I find that exciting.”
Relocating and rebuilding Lakeland Elementary and Kingwood Middle School are cheaper and quicker than rehabbing the aging schools, according to Nolan Correa, Humble ISD’s associate superintendent for operational support services.
Together with Steven Hadley, executive director for construction, Correa oversees all Humble ISD’s planning and construction, including rebuilding and relocating Lakeland on Rustic Timbers Drive.
Kingwood Middle School will remain open until the new school opens in 2022, then the old building will be removed, and athletic fields and other amenities will be added.
Atascocita High School is gaining 20 new classrooms and a third gym allowing for the “temporary” buildings to be removed. Humble High School will be upgraded with a new cafeteria, library, competition gym and other modernizing renovations.
The most dramatic upgrade may be the flood gates that will be installed to protect Kingwood High School from persistent flooding.
Funds to build the flood gates are not part of the 2018 bond but rather a $25 million federal grant championed by U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw. District leaders developed a protection plan which FEMA approved. Construction on the $28 million project will begin during the 2020-2021 school year with completion in 2022. Humble ISD is providing about $3 million toward the project.
Here is how the flood gates work.
When heavy rain threatens the school, underground flood gates will float up covering the school’s entrances. They are not visible any other time, do not use electricity, and are currently in use at the Texas Medical Center. Exterior walls will be waterproofed and new backflow preventers, currently in use at the Texas Medical Center, will be installed.
“It cost $63 million to restore Kingwood High School after Hurricane Harvey,” said Fagen. “During the restoration, Kingwood High School students and staff shared a campus with Summer Creek High School for most of the 2017-2018 school year.”
The 14 major construction projects, with more projects slated to come online as others are completed, reflects Humble ISD’s growing student population, confirmed by Dr. Roger Brown.
“We’re a fast-growing district, growing at a thousand students a year,” said Brown, Humble ISD deputy superintendent and chief academic officer.
“Our focus as a school board is ensuring that students throughout the district continue to learn in first-rate facilities,” said Robert Sitton, Humble ISD trustee and vice president and chair of Humble ISD’s Building and Planning Committee. Schools are a major driver of a community’s growth, said Sitton and “… developers tell us they want to build here because families want to buy in Humble ISD. The school construction that is occurring will keep Humble ISD as an attractive district for generations to come.”
Keep track of all district building projects at humbleisd.net/bond2018.
Security enhancements including secured visitor entries, additional security cameras, and alarm system updates.
Field turf installation at high schools. Bundling the turf projects saved the district $500,000.
Technology updates including firewall additions, data center upgrades, and upgrading the district’s wireless capacity.
Projects currently underway as of Spring 2020
Centennial Elementary School (funded by Bond 2008) opens in August in the Lakewood Pines subdivision. Layout is based on a series of pods comprised of classrooms located around a central gathering space for each grade level.
A new Lakeland Elementary School, open in 2021, with a main entry featuring a multifunctional media space designed to resemble a tree house, which sets the tone for the play-based learning concept and vision for the school. Innovative and collaborative classroom spaces and engaging outdoor play areas are being designed specifically to meet the learning needs of young children.
Elementary No. 30, opening in 2021 in Fall Creek.
Elementary multipurpose rooms will bring 23 older elementary schools up to the standard of newer elementary schools by adding a gym for additional physical education classes and assembly rooms. The first six elementary schools to receive them will be Deerwood Elementary, Hidden Hollow Elementary, Pine Forest Elementary, Shadow Forest Elementary, Whispering Pines Elementary, Willow Creek Elementary and the Community Learning Center. Targeted opening is 2021.
Middle School No. 10, across from Balmoral, will open in 2022. The design will be like West Lake Middle School.
The new Kingwood Middle School, open in 2022, incorporates the concept of Kingwood’s “Livable Forest," using ample amounts of natural light and sustainable materials to combine interior and exterior spaces into a cohesive learning environment. The existing school will remain open until the new school building is complete, then removed and athletic fields and other amenities will be completed.
Atascocita High School gains 20 new classrooms and a third gym in 2021.
Humble High School is getting a new cafeteria, library, competition gym and other renovations that will modernize and add light to the building. The target completion date is 2022.
Kingwood Park High School is getting a third gym. The targeted opening is 2022.
Kingwood High School is getting a third gym. The targeted opening is 2022.
Summer Creek High School is gaining a third gym. The targeted opening is 2021.
Quest Early College High School (funding includes sources other than Bond 2018) will gain its own campus by relocating to the district’s career and technical education center next door to Humble High.
Career and Technology Education beginning in August will become a campus-based career tech program by relocating to high school campuses throughout the district.
The North Transportation Center opens in 2021 on 12 acres on Ford Road north of Kingwood, saving an estimated $2 million in operating costs due to shorter routes and improved response times.
The new Kingwood Ag Barn opens in 2021 near Mills Branch Drive and Ford Road. The southern Ag Barn will also be upgraded to match Kingwood.