Cypress-area school finishing major renovations following Harvey flooding

Construction crews in the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District are putting the finishing touches on a major renovation project at the Moore Elementary campus, which was devastated by flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

Moore Elementary School will be ready when classes are scheduled to begin on Aug. 27, according to Cypress Fairbanks ISD officials. Crews will just be tying up a couple of loose ends by the time children return to the school, which took in three feet of floodwaters during Hurricane Harvey.

“It’s exciting to be able to see this,” said Cypress Fairbanks ISD chief operations officer Roy Sprague. “It’s almost a brand new building. It’s been a painful process to go through, very challenging process, but we’re seeing the fruits of our labor.”

Students and teachers will be walking into a shiny new campus on the first day of classes, thanks to the $15 million renovation project.

Sprague said the building began flooding on a Saturday, and it wasn’t until the following Wednesday that the floodwaters had receded enough to allow school officials to access the building.

“When we got into the building, it was pretty devastating to see how much water we had in the building and the damage to the case work, the doors, the walls, everything,” described Sprague. “So we knew we were up against a pretty major hurdle to try to renovate the building and get it ready for the school year.”

The school had far greater damage than any other building owned by the school district and was the final building to be repaired in the district in the aftermath of Harvey.

Cy-Fair ISD used bond funds and insurance claims to pay for the massive renovations.

The district is investing some of those funds in preventative measures to help stave off future flooding.

“We actually lowered the parking lot and built a brand new concrete pavement and parking spaces, and so if we do get any heavy rains in the future, the parking lot will retain some of that water before it starts rising to get into a building,” said Sprague. “We also built a separate detention area that we did not have on this property before, so in a typical rain, the detention area withholds some waters as well.”

More than 800 Moore Elementary students were transplanted to the old Matzke campus on Jones Road after the flood while repairs were made. On Friday, the last of the school supplies being kept at Matzke were brought back to Moore where they belong.

“We’ll have teachers in the building all next week setting up their classrooms, and we’ll be ready for Aug. 27 for the kids to arrive with their smiling faces,” said Sprague. “We’re looking forward to that day.”

Cy-Fair ISD officials say that Moore Elementary is located near Cypress Creek and has a history of flooding. They also say that the building took in water during the Memorial Day and Tax Day floods, but the damage wasn’t nearly as bad as when Harvey came through. They are hoping the newly-lowered parking lot and the detention pond to the side of the building will prevent that trend from continuing.