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Robinson Elementary Reopens For Spring Semester

According to HISD, $6.5 million was spent renovating the school


Robinson Elementary.

Today, Monday, January 8 is a homecoming day for students and teachers at Robinson Elementary in East Houston. The school was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and students were relocated to Holland Middle School and Pleasantville Elementary while renovations and repairs could be made.

According to the Houston Independent School District, $6.5 million was spent renovating every porous surface four-feet and below in the school. New vinyl floor tiles, furniture, wood surfaces and classroom supplies were all replaced. According to Robinson principal Paige Fernandez, only the terrazzo floors in the hallways remain.

Fernandez said they’ve gone from 700 students in the 2016-17 school year to about 550 this year. She said a major reason for the loss of students is that 50% of the students families were affected by Harvey.

Robinson Elementary principal Paige Fernandez

"We did a lot of work in the beginning to evaluate, especially with our displaced families where they went. Now looking at the numbers, it's less than 50 [percent], ‘cause so many families that lost their homes have relocated,” Fernandez said.

She hopes the school will be back to 700 students by next fall, and considers the "like new" facility as the silver lining. "It doesn't really mitigate the challenges that we face, but I think it makes us stronger as a campus."

As for parent, Victoria Acosta, is thrilled the kids are back home. "It's awesome. We live five minutes away instead of a fifteen or twenty minute drive," said Acosta.

HISD is also opening three new high school facilities as the Spring semester kicks off. Sharpstown, Scarborough and North Forest high schools are new facilities for students, but the construction is unrelated to Harvey.

Sharpstown High School will start classes next month in a new $62.8 million facility that was built adjacent to the current building. The new school features a two-story, light-filled atrium that will also serve as a dining commons and flexible use area. Other amenities include classrooms equipped with modern technology and grouped into neighborhoods, flexible learning spaces for small and large groups, two gymnasiums, a JROTC building, and a fine arts wing.

Scarborough High School is wrapping up construction of a new 13,000-square-foot JROTC and fine arts building. The $14.6 million project also called for general renovations to the existing building, including a new better-defined and more secure main entry, an upgraded cafeteria and snack bar, and refurbished classrooms, as well as additional site improvements.

North Forest High School will move across the street from its current campus into a new facility on the east side of Mesa Drive. The $59.5 million campus will accommodate 1,500 students and features flexible learning spaces, a modern dining commons area, and Career and Technical Education spaces, as well as a unique indoor running track – a first of its kind in HISD.