Recovery for PAISD buildings finishing

Published 9:50 am Thursday, May 3, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas


The road to recovery has been a long one, but the end is in sight for a couple of school facilities that have seen their share of highs and lows since Harvey.

The Port Arthur Independent School District Administration Building and Adams Elementary School are projected to be completed and ready for occupation by June 15, according to Assistant Superintendent of Business & Finance Phyllis Geans.

“At Adams we were really fortunate,” she said.

The elementary school, located on Ninth Avenue, did not lose nearly the amount of furniture and equipment as the administration building did.

According to Geans, student desks at the school were constructed of a sturdier material and thus were mostly salvageable whereas most of the furniture at the administration building — with the exception of a few chairs — had to be replaced.

In addition, several electronics and computers were lost, including equipment from three computer labs in the administration building.

“We retrieved as many computers as we could,” Geans said. “It wasn’t a total loss, but we lost some computers and telephones and servers.”

Like many buildings and residences, damaged sheetrock and carpets had to be removed and replaced at the administration and Adams buildings.

“We had some damages but really when we look at the roof… Only some of the tiles needed to be replaced,” Geans said. “As far as roof damages went, we had no significant roof damages.”

Geans estimated total amounts for the facilities themselves to be in the low millions. This estimate would not include items in the buildings like records, furniture and equipment.

“We lost records that had to be restored. We sent the records to Dallas,” Geans said.

There, the records were freeze-dried and decontaminated.

“It was a costly process but hopefully it will be worth it,” she said.

The district has already received some recompense from various insurance policies.

“What we had was property value,” Geans said. “The property policy is based on a percentage of the value of the facility, which itself is a deductible.”

Geans also pointed out that the district has excess property coverage on certain facilities.

“Basically, they would quote more in a flooded area based on the flood area,” she said. “The district had secured additional flood insurance on Adams and the High School and the CATE building and auditorium along with Dowlen.”

Geans made special mention of the many and varied donations the district — especially that of Adams — received in the aftermath of Harvey.

“We did lose library books but the book donations helped us with Adams,” Geans said.

After Harvey hit, students from Adams Elementary had to be relocated. Pre-K through second grade were moved to Booker T. Washington Elementary and third-through-fifth-grade students were moved to Dick Dowling Elementary.

As a result, space was at a premium at said schools. Fortunately, portable buildings were made ready to house the influx of students. Geans said Motiva even provided one of their portables for Adams students.

“Motiva assisted us, the chamber of commerce donated to us and so many other donations from around the country helped us,” she said. “Truckloads of books were brought in to help us in our dilemma… They have been very, very good to us.”