Tropic Storm Harvey caused vast damages to Lone Star College-Kingwood due to flooding.
LSC-Kingwood hosted a news conference on Friday, Sept. 8. Six of the campus’ buildings received first-floor flooding, including Classroom Buildings A and B, the Library, Health Science Building, Fitness and Training Center and the Performing Arts Center. The campus’ Administration Building, Student Conference Center and Music Instructional Building did not receive flood damage.
“In six of the nine buildings it flooded,” said Katherine Persson, LSC-Kingwood president. “Ninety percent of what’s on the downstairs floor that flooded is lost. Estimates from the insurance companies that have been here say it’s over $10 million.”
The flooded buildings will be unusable for a majority of the semester, but the college has begun restoration activities. Persson said the hope is the campus may be reopened by January.
“It will depend on how fast we get construction crews in to repair the damage to the first floors,” Persson said. “And, we’re competing with everybody else in Houston getting workers and materials. If we were the only ones who flooded, I’d feel confident we’d be in by January classes. That’s what we’re shooting for.” Persson said they are working on an ambitious timeline to get things organized.
Within the week following Wednesday, Sept. 6, the campus will work to make adjustments to most 16-week classes, originally scheduled to begin Aug. 28, to 12-week classes that are now scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 25. Additionally, a majority of the courses will need to be converted to online and hybrid classes. Personnel are working to determine which courses will need to be converted and planning how to do so.
“We know our students are stressed out, too, and many are facing a lot of obstacles due to the flood, with either their immediate families, or their relatives or their neighbors,” Persson said. “We’ll work with our students. And, if any start and feel like they can’t do it, we’ll drop them and refund them.”
Personnel are also working to determine in which of four locations face-to-face and hybrid classes will be held. The four locations include the LSC-Kingwood SCC and MUS building, the Atascocita Center, the EMCID building in New Caney, and a leased building in between LSC-Kingwood and EMCID. Any classes offered at other sites will be communicated to the students registered for those classes. Sept. 9 is the deadline for class schedule changes for courses on other campuses.
LSC-Kingwood acknowledged that some students may not prefer online courses. Online and in-person support services will be available for students taking online classes. In-person support can be accessed at the main college campus, Atascocita Center and EMCID complex.
“We’re having to switch about 900 of our 1,275 classes to online or hybrid, so it involves getting faculty trained, and asking students if they need computers, and reaching out to other agencies,” Persson said. “We should have our revised schedule out next week, and then, starting the week of Sept. 18 – a week before classes start – they can come in and change schedules if it’s not doable with location changes and online.”
Faculty have been instructed to reach out to students to inquire about students’ needs for these courses, with particular attention to whether or not a student has access to a computer with internet. LSC-Kingwood is attempting to coordinate vanpools for students experiencing issues with transportation, but nothing official has been organized yet. Students are asked to communicate transportation issues to faculty members.
The week of Sept. 11 is the earliest LSC-Kingwood can release a revised fall class schedule. The college is prepared to work with students on schedule changes to accommodate any format or location alterations made to classes in which they had been registered. These services will be available online and in-person at the main campus SCC building, Atascocita Center, or at one of the sister LSC colleges beginning Sept. 18.
Throughout this process, LSC-Kingwood is in collaboration with several local entities, including the Kindred Rehabilitation Center, First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood, Kingwood Music School, Atascocita United Methodist Church, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Farouk Systems.