Summer Creek High Principal Brent McDonald introduced Summer Creek’s chance at a state football championship while San Jacinto River Authority Board Member Kaaren Cambio outlined the board’s strategy to stem flooding, and Memorial Hermann Northeast Chief Nursing Officer Nikki Roux had good news about Memorial Hermann’s multiple refurbishing and building projects around Lake Houston.
Those were among the topics discussed at Lake Houston Chamber’s Summer Creek BizCom held June 7 at Summer Creek High School.
McDonald introduced Kenny Harrison, the Bulldogs’ new football coach.
“Watch our program explode,” McDonald told the crowd.
Harrison told the group how proud he was to be a part of Humble ISD “… and, frankly, there’s no better place than this place,” the former UT football star said. “We’re going to play hard. We’re going to play smart. We’re going to do everything possible to win a state championship.”
McDonald also described Summer Creek’s “fantastic” year.
“The scores are in,” he said. “Of the five tests our students take, all increased five to eight percent. Even with our school day cut in half, I am so proud of our staff and our students. They cut the fluff and got to the meat of learning. And our disciplinary problems were reduced by 78 percent. Scores went up. Disciplinary problems went down.”
Critical to Summer Creek’s success, McDonald said, “… is good teachers. We’ve made some good hires and we have 25 new teachers coming this fall who want to be here.”
Roux had good news to share as well.
“After being displaced by flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey, next month our primary care physicians and OB/GYNs will be moving from their temporary space in Summer Creek and Atascocita into a temporary space in the Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Kingwood property, with plans to move back into the permanent clinic by fall or winter,” Roux said.
The Kingwood Convenient Care Center, the seventh to be built by Memorial Hermann, is located at Kingwood Drive and W. Lake Houston Pkwy. in the Main Street Kingwood Shopping Center. All other services, including the Emergency Center, imaging and sports medicine and rehab, will also move into the Convenient Care Center once it opens.
On the Humble campus, a second physician office building will open this month, Roux said, and the new patient tower will open in December.
Cambio had reassuring news about the San Jacinto River Authority’s flood mitigation strategy in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“I’ve learned that 11 percent of Harris County flooded after Harvey,” said Cambio, who is an authority board member and a resident of Kingwood since 1992. “One hundred percent of us, however, were affected by the flooding, either because our homes were flooded or a loved one was flooded, or we were there to help those who were flooded.”
People ask me why I got involved,” Cambio said. “It’s simple. Our home flooded.”
Among the many things she’s learned since Governor Greg Abbott appointed her to the river authority is that, prior to Harvey, flood mitigation was not a priority for the city or the county. That has changed, she said. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has estimated that it would take $25 billion just for Harris County to “fix” what was the second costliest storm in U.S. history.
“We can never protect ourselves from 44 inches of rain,” she said, “and there is no way to predict or plan for an event like Harvey.”
What the authority is doing, Cambio said, is beginning an area-wide flood study, immediately mitigating downstream flooding through dredging, and integrating all flood warning information so that officials and residents can make informed decisions when a downpour or flooding occurs.
Cambio said that the river authority is initiating a “forced warning” by July 1 to all area cell phones that would alert residents where to go and what to do.
Debris is being removed from the San Jacinto River now and dredging will begin by July, she said. Additional plans include ensuring the aggregate processors along the river don’t add to the problem, increase the capacity of Lake Houston Dam, create additional reservoirs, develop building restrictions in the neighboring counties, and continue to study best practices to mitigate flooding.
Cambio gave a shout-out to Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, who represents Kingwood and requested that the Houston mayor lower Lake Houston prior to the recent Good Friday storm.
The Summer Creek BizCom ended with an invigorating video that depicted the Crystal Lagoon now under construction at Balmoral, a 750-acre new home community in the West Lake Houston area of Beltway 8.
“We’re building the very first Crystal Lagoon in Texas right here in Lake Houston,” said Anita Nunez, who will manage the information center at the new community. “It’s like a Caribbean vacation in your backyard. Two white sand beaches. A grotto. A serenity beach for grown-ups. A family beach with cabanas and loungers. A club house and a terrace overlooking an infinity-edge pool.”
The lagoon, filled with 5 million gallons of water, will open in late August.
The next Summer Creek BizCom is Thursday, Sept. 13, 11 a.m., at Summer Creek High School. For information about any of the four BizComs held at Summer Creek, Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble high schools, contact the Lake Houston Area Chamber at 281-446-2128 or lakehouston.org.