Kingwood High School Flood Protection


Humble Independent School District


Completion Date:
Design: 2020
Construction estimated:  2023

Kingwood High School Flood Protection


The 50-acre Kingwood High School campus flooded three times in four years (2016 Tax Day Flood, 2017 Hurricane Harvey, and 2019 Tropical Storm Imelda). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved a $35 million improvement grant for Humble Independent School District to implement flood protection measures to prohibit future flooding. The campus is located near the San Jacinto River in the 100- and 500-year floodplains. After Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston required all school buildings in the floodplain to have a finished floor elevation 3 feet above the 500-year floodplain. Existing buildings at Kingwood High School required 8 feet of flood protection in the front and 3.5 feet of flood protection in the back. The requisite study identified flood protection for building entrances, windows, and utility stub-outs that employ a passive system. The optimal solution for this campus combined several approaches that work together. The 8-foot flood protection in the front has float up gates that connect to external walls and a new flood proofed wall structure. The 3.5-foot flood protection in the back has float up gates that connect to replacement walls and new walls on the existing face. Special areas, such as the auto-shop, have flood protection outside of the building face with an external wall that extends 75 feet. This ensures that vehicles under repair do not block the float-up gates at garage entrances. Flood protection for existing buildings requires special attention to ensure that it will remain impervious over its lifetime, be easy to maintain, ensure smooth ingress/egress to the facility, and maintain the building’s structural, envelope, and utility system integrity.