University of Houston system schools are evaluating their responses to Hurricane Harvey – and determining how they can better prepare for the next storm.
Nearly 3 feet of floodwater entered the University of Houston-Downtown’s police dispatch center during Hurricane Harvey, and administrators now say the center’s location must change. The University of Houston – which saw one dormitory flood in the storm – says it needs to better plan for evacuations of campus residence halls.
And the University of Houston-Victoria, who needed to evacuate its campus during Harvey, now says it needs an emergency shelter for students and memorandums of understanding with other schools to share housing during emergencies.
UH regents plan to discuss the four system universities’ responses to Harvey at a board meeting Thursday. They’ll cover university assessments of what worked and what didn’t and evaluate damage to facilities.
UH, for example, says it needs more high-water vehicles, which were used to evacuate Bayou Oaks residence hall as floodwaters rose. But the move to prepare two residence halls for UH-Victoria and evacuated UH residents was successful.
“When the time came that the facilities were needed,” the document reads, “they were ready to receive the students.”
UH-Downtown required sheetrock repairs as significant flooding affected their gymnasium floors and utility plant equipment, and UH-Victoria saw major wind and water damage to campus dormitories, which are now back in service. The University of Houston Clear Lake saw minor flooding to a student services building.
UH-Victoria reopened on Sept. 11, while the other three universities reopened Sept. 5.
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Communication to faculty, students and staff went smoothly across the four schools, the universities said.
University of Texas System Regents saw a presentation at their board meeting last week on UT’s preparations before the storm. Damage was mitigated by storm doors, floodwalls and submarine glass added after past hurricanes and storms, officials said.
UH regents will also discuss a potential medical school, the university's progress toward raising graduation rates and UH's capital campaign.
Lindsay Ellis writes about higher education for the Chronicle. You can follow her on Twitter and send her tips at email@example.com....Read more