Tag Archive for: New Caney ISD High School #3

New West Fork High School Opens

New Caney ISD’s new West Fork High School on Sorters-McClellan Road south of Kingwood Drive celebrated its grand opening on August 23, 2022. Here’s a video of the event. I’ve been following the construction of the school since early 2020.

Construction is the riskiest period in a project as we saw with the aborted Woodridge Village project. Sheet flow during heavy rains flooded Elm Grove Village and North Kingwood Forest twice in 2019, largely because of the failure to follow best practices. Contractors cleared 270 acres before building required detention ponds.

No Flooding During Construction

However, New Caney ISD built a large detention pond at the low end of the site when it started construction. They also planted grass in it right away. Luckily, TA DA, no one flooded during construction. And no major erosion problems were observed. Amazing how safety improves when you follow best practices.

Pictures of Completed Campus

Here are pictures of the school taken 9/4/22, Sunday morning when no students were around. The campus looks beautiful and will make a welcome addition for New Caney ISD students in the area.

Wide shot showing whole campus including detention pond. Looking NE across Sorters-McClellan Road toward HCA Kingwood Medical Center in background.
Closer shot looking in same direction.
Looking NW from SE corner of site over the detention basin.
Track, field events, baseball and a dedicated athletic facility on the left.
Looking directly west at back of new high school.
Looking south from north end of main complex.
Central open-air courtyard, a signature feature of the new school. Gives more classrooms sunlight.
Completing the circle. Looking NE again from SW corner of main building.

Historical Photos of Construction Progress

To look back at the sequence of construction photos starting in June 2020, see the links below.

Congratulations to New Caney ISD, its students, and all the neighbors who survived construction.

There’s still a little work left to do. The road in front of the high school is widening. A pile of dirt at the north end needs to be removed. And pipe, most likely for irrigation, still remains in places. But I think we can safely close the books on this project.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/4/22

1832 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Why You Build Detention Ponds First

A best practice in the construction industry is to build detention ponds before you clear all the land. In Elm Grove and North Kingwood Forest, we saw what can happen when you don’t. Contractors cleared 277-acres before installing sufficient detention pond capacity. The result: hundreds of homes flooded needlessly. Twice. And silt poured into Taylor Gully which had to be excavated at public expense.

Staging Construction, Temporary Seeding, Mulching Not Used to Reduce Sedimentation

Harris County Stormwater Quality Management Regulations discourage clearcutting large sites all at once. See section, Stormwater Pollution Prevention (SWPPP) During Construction. The text states, “The clearing, grubbing and scalping (mass clearing or grading) of excessively large areas of land at one time promotes erosion and sedimentation problems. On the areas where disturbance takes place the site designer should consider staging construction [emphasis added], temporary seeding and/or temporary mulching as a technique to reduce erosion. Staging construction involves stabilizing one part of the site before disturbing another [emphasis added].“

But those rules don’t apply in Montgomery County. So you often see developers trying to build detention ponds as they build (or even after they build) the rest of the site.

Case in Point: Preserve at Woodridge

Such is the case at the Preserve at Woodridge…which promises “resort-style amenities.”

Preserve at Woodridge on 5/22/22. Eighty-five of 131 rental homes now under construction. That’s two thirdsbefore the detention pond is built.

Plans show that more houses will go in on the right.

Meanwhile, compare the detention ponds below. One is a white, chalky mess with dirt still piled around the edges. The other: pretty clean. Of course, residents pay to keep it that way.

Preserve at Woodridge is in bottom left and Woodridge Forest is in upper part of frame. Notice the difference in the water color in the detention ponds.
Contractors have excavated additional dirt from the detention pond (mounded around edges and at left) to bring in clay to form a liner.

The sad part of this: downstream residents will pay the price. And because this is another development just north of the county line, that will be Kingwood. The last time, the developer pumped stormwater into the drainage ditch, the silt traveled miles down Ben’s Branch.

Why Bring In Clay?

I asked an expert in floodwater detention basin construction, why the developer would bring in clay? The answer: “To create a wet-bottom pond.” Developers sell those as residential amenities. I applaud that. But my point is this. Had they completed the detention pond first, it could have been growing grass to reduce sedimentation while they developed the rest of the property. That approach seemed to work well at the New Caney High School ISD West Fork High School.

The detention pond at the New Caney West Fork High School had already been mowed when they began pouring concrete. Photo from March 2021.

Lest you think I’m a MoCo basher, let me point out this. The detention pond above is also in MoCo.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/24/22

1729 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.

New Caney ISD West Fork High School March Construction Update

One of the largest construction projects currently underway in the Kingwood Area is New Caney ISD’s West Fork High School, south of the HCA Kingwood Medical Center. New Caney ISD provided degrees of completion for all the trades associated with the project as of March 2022.

  • Athletic fields and structures – 70%
  • Concrete masonry 65%
  • Rough electrical – 80%
  • Rough mechanical – 80%
  • Rough plumbing – 90%
  • Insulation – 75%
  • Windows – 65%
  • Interior metal studs – 85%
  • Exterior paint – 50%
  • Curtain wall – 65%
  • Exterior storefront – 90%
  • Concrete paving, parking lot and driveways – 95%
  • Gas service – 90%
  • Water service – 80%
  • Sidewalks – 45%
  • Interior gypsum board – 65%
  • Interior paint 20%
  • Ceramic tile – 10%
  • Sorters Road storm drain – 90%
  • Rough grade – 75%

Aerial Photos from 3/13/22

Here’s what that looks like. Aerial photos show the exterior of the main building and athletic facilities rapidly nearing completion.

Looking NE at New Caney ISD West Fork High School. HCA Kingwood Medical Center is white complex in background near horizon.
Interior courtyard
New ball fields. US59 runs left to right across top of frame. North is left.
Field house, football field and track. Looking east toward US 59.
Looking SW toward Sorters-McClellan Road.
Runners take your marks. Set. Go!
The detention pond will need some erosion repair before this project is done.
Sorters-McClellan Road is being expanded to handle the increased traffic. Looking N from over detention pond.
Looking S at widening of Sorters-McClellan Road. Note proximity to West Fork and 59 Bridge in background.

Compare with Previous Updates

To see how the project has progressed, compare these previous posts.

New Caney ISD expects to complete the project this summer. It is one of the District’s 2018 bond projects.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/15/2022

1659 Days since Hurricane Harvey

New Caney ISD’s West Fork High School Blocked Out; Access Being Enhanced

Although much finish work remains, contractors have finished blocking out New Caney ISD’s new West Fork High School. Walls, structural steel and roofs are up. Some windows are in. Now they are widening Sorters-McClellan Road. They are also building another access route through woods that will connect to Kingwood Place Drive, the street immediately west of the HCA Kingwood Medical Center.

Photos Taken 11/6/2021

I took all of the shots below on November 6, 2021, with the exception of the last one from November a year ago.

New Caney ISD West Fork High School Construction as of 11/6/2021. Looking NE from over Sorters-McClellan Road toward HCA Kingwood Medical Center and Insperity in top center.
Looking south from over Sorters-McClellan Road, which is apparently being widened in front of the high school and then some. Note the wetlands and cypress trees in the upper right.
Looking north from over detention pond at south end of campus. I-69 in upper right.
Fieldhouse, track and football field.
New access road through woods will connect with Kingwood Place Drive
Looking south. Note windows being installed in center.
Looking SE. Much sitework remains.
From a higher altitude, you can see the proximity to the San Jacinto West Fork. From the upper left, it curves around the large pond then becomes visible again to the left of the sand mine in the upper right.

Wetlands Gone Forever

From US Fish and Wildlife Service Wetlands Mapper. Green areas are/were freshwater forested/shrub wetlands. Blue/gray areas are freshwater ponds. High school site is in center of frame. Image taken shortly after clearing. Note large area of former wetlands where athletic fields will be.

I’m sorry to see the wetlands go, but now that they’re gone, I want to see them complete the drainage for this campus ASAP to make sure everything gets channeled into the detention pond. That will minimize the chance of flooding neighbors.

Progress in One Year

New Caney ISD has posted an update on construction that indicates the percentage of completion for each of the project components as of October 29.

It was just a year ago, that this site was virtually nothing but dirt. Contractors had just started pouring concrete for the first parking pad.

From Nov. 13, 2020.

New Caney ISD expects to finish construction by the summer of 2022.

General plan for New Caney High School #3

Posted by Bob Rehak on November 8, 2021

1532 Days since Hurricane Harvey

New Caney ISD’s New West Fork High School Taking Shape

Between US59 and Sorters-McClellan Road, a few blocks south of Kingwood Drive, New Caney ISD High School #3 is finally taking shape. And it now has an official name: West Fork High High School.

On January 1, 2021, contractors were just starting to pour concrete for the foundations and parking lots. According to the New Caney ISD’s June update:

  • Site work storm drainage is 95 percent complete
  • Sanitary sewer system – 85 percent.
  • Electrical system – 98 percent.
  • Water system – 90 percent.
  • Building concrete slab – 90 percent.
  • Form and pour tilt-up panels – 99 percent.
  • Erect panels – 95 percent.
  • Structural steel – 55 percent.
  • Metal decking – 20 percent.
  • Concrete masonry unit (cinder block) masonry – 10 percent.

Aerial Photos Taken 7.12.21

Here’s how all that looked on the afternoon of July 12, 2021.

Looking NE from over Sorters-McClellan Road toward Kingwood Medical Center and Insperity (top center).
Looking east toward Field House and where playing fields will go just beyond it. US59 and Lowe’s in background.
Looking south at entire site. Sorters-McClellan Road on right. US59 on left and top.
A peak into New Caney ISD’s West Fork High School three-story structures
Looking north at entire site. Huge detention pond in foreground.
Looking North. Corrugated metal installed as base for roofing on four buildings.

Site Plan, Architectural Renderings for New Caney ISD West Fork High School

Here’s how it should all look when finished.

Architectural Rendering courtesy of New Caney ISD.
Architectural Rendering courtesy of New Caney ISD.
Architectural Rendering courtesy of New Caney ISD.
General plan for New Caney High School #3

New Caney ISD expects to finish construction on the 60-acre site in the summer of 2022. The site is in Montgomery County, but also the City of Houston’s Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction.

Detention Pond Requirements

The dry-bottom detention pond takes up approximately 5 of the 60 acres – or one twelfth of the site. Assuming it’s 12 feet deep, it would hold a foot of rain falling on the entire site. The new minimum recommendation for a site this size in Harris County and the City is .65 acre feet of detention per acre. That would be about 40 acre-feet of detention, which a pond 8 feet deep would hold.

Because the construction site is closed, and the plans I have don’t specify depth, it’s hard to say exactly how much capacity the detention pond has. But I’m guessing it’s deep enough to meet the new minimum requirements under Atlas 14. I say that judging by the height of the pond walls compared to the pipes leading into it.

I would expect no less from a public school system.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/12/2021

1413 Days after Hurricane Harvey