New Caney ISD Clearcutting Site of High School #3 Before Installing Detention

The New Caney ISD has removed a long swath of trees that separated Sorters-McClellan Road from the site of its new high school south of the Kingwood Medical Center. Removal of the trees – before the construction of the detention pond for the site – removes the last barrier between sheet flow and residents downhill.

Similarities to Woodridge Village

Clearcutting creates a condition similar to that of Woodridge Village. Woodridge contributed to flooding Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest twice last year after Perry Homes cleared the site before installing all the required detention. With nothing to retain runoff in a major storm, water could inundate Sorters Road and the homes on the opposite side of it in McClellan Circle.

This once again raises the question of whether contractors follow best practices for construction.

The site is in both Montgomery County and the City of Houston. But Montgomery County claims the City took the lead in permitting this site. MoCo claims it does not even have any drainage plans.

Looking south along Sorters Road at the site of New Caney ISD High School #3. Land slopes from left to right and foreground to background. Recently, contractors removed all trees next to the road. A large detention pond is supposed to be installed next to the tree line at the far end of the site. See below.

Building Pad Site Complete But No Detention Pond Yet

As of July 20, 2020, New Caney ISD had this to say about the project. “The site has been cleared and rough grading is at 90 percent completion.” Contractors have completed the building pad and will start installing the concrete piers concurrent with the underground storm and sanitary systems.

General plan for New Caney High School #3. North is left, east is up. Detention pond should be at far end of the photo above.

How Site Looked in June

Site of New Caney High School Number 3 as it existed in June, 17, 2020. Note the tree buffer between the site and Sorters McClellan road on the right that is now gone. So are all the trees within the site.

Steep Slope Accelerates Runoff

This approximately 50-60 acre site slopes toward the corner in the upper right by 10 to 15 feet depending on where you start. Sources: Google Earth Pro and USGS National Map Viewer.
USGS National Map Viewer still shows old par 3 golf course on which the new high school will be built.

This is a 5% slope compared to the 1.8% slope on Woodridge Village.

Comparing Google Earth Elevation Profiles

The steepness of the slope accelerates runoff in the absence of features to slow it down.

Current State of Site

Here are some more shots showing the current state of construction on the site.

Looking NW toward the Eagle Sorters Sand Mine in the top left.
Looking NE toward HCA Kingwood Medical Center and Insperity.
Looking SE toward retail establishments that front US59, barely visible in the top left of the frame.

There seem to be some berms in the corners of the property. They may slow down sheet flow in a large storm. But the berms are absent over the large area in the center where the high school building itself will go.

Peak of Hurricane Season 5 Weeks Away

Let’s hope they get the detention in before the next big storm. No one wants a repeat of Woodridge.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/4/2020

1071 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.