KATY, Texas - A Katy ISD school swamped by Harvey is finally reopening.
Betty Sue Creech Elementary was built in an area designed to flood. But the school, built in 2000, never flooded before.
“My home is still being repaired,” said first grade teacher Linda McDonald.
She lost her home and school to Harvey, just like 75- to 80-percent of Creech’s student body. All of them will soon move back in after a year of extensive renovation work.
“I never would have foreseen this,” McDonald said.
Principal Euberta Lucas said the school took on about two feet of water that didn’t recede for days. Classes were held in a temporary location during the rest of the 2017-2018 school year.
“We talked a lot about resiliency and strength and being brave,” Lucas said.
Creech Elementary was built inside the Barker Reservoir’s flood pool. That’s an area designed to flood during extreme events like Harvey.
“We knew, based on the flood water and predications, that maybe some of the neighborhoods were going to get flooded,” Lucas said. “Never in our wildest mind would our school have water in it.”
A book about Noah’s Ark is among the hundreds of new books donated to the school’s renovated library. That’s also where murals on walls above the water line survived the flood.
“It’s been slow, but we made it through it,” McDonald said.
According to Katy ISD, renovating Creech Elementary cost about $7 million. Building a new school elsewhere would cost $30 million or more.