It’s been a long and difficult week for so many in our community and across Greater Houston and beyond. Along with the Jewish Federation and other Jewish Agencies, the J has been host to a massive recovery and relief effort. We’ve collected supplies and distributed to those in need since Hurricane Harvey pressed on to the east. We even had the Houston Texans and the JJ Watt Foundation lend a hand with additional supplies and assistance in distribution. We’re proud that in a time of such great difficulty, we can continue to be a hub to bring the community together.
As our recovery and relief supply distribution slows down, we now have to turn our sights on our programs and facilities and begin our own recovery. The J did sustain some significant damage due to the storm, which we will outline below. We have already begun the recovery and mitigation process in many areas and will work tirelessly until we are fully up and running again.
The lower level of the Weingarten Building sustained significant damage with water levels of 8-10 feet. We have begun water removal and dehumidification, and electricians will be on site this week to assess our electrical repairs, after which we will have a better idea when we will reopen.
We are going to be utilizing a number of indoor courts as repurposed space for our Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School students while repairs are made to the BAS building. Staff are working on alternative arrangements for court space, which could include some evening and weekend use of courts for tennis, as well as outdoor courts will be available both at the main campus as well as at the Merfish Teen Center.
Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School
BAS staff and parents of BAS students have been hard at work determining a plan for the coming school year. BAS did also take on water and sustained significant damage. BAS parents are receiving a separate communication regarding the details of the plans for the upcoming school year, both in the short term and longer term plans. Some classrooms will be relocated to Shlenker, while others will utilize repurposed space in the indoor tennis center.
The Kaplan Theatre also sustained damage to both the carpet in the house as well as the stage area. The David Krohn concert this coming Sunday will go on and will take place at Congregation Brith Shalom.
The Fitness Center did take on water as well and sustained damage. Electricians will be on site this week to assess the power to the fitness center, as well as the electronic cardio equipment to determine needed repairs.
The Merfish Teen Center also took on about 4 feet of water. Repairs have begun on the Merfish Teen Center and we will share further details of when it can reopen in the future.
Meals on Wheels
Our J Meals on Wheels vehicles did not sustain damage during the storm and are operational. We will resume meal delivery tomorrow, Tuesday, September 5.
Our West Houston Campus also received damage during the storm, but we have not been able to assess that property. That property falls within the mandatory evacuation area that remains in effect and we have not been able to access the property to ascertain the damage. We do know that the property has been without power since August 28 and don't expect power to be restored for a number of days. This will mean about two weeks without power at the facility. Due to this we have decided to transition that program temporarily to Houston Congregation of Reform Judaism.
The gymnastics facilities did not sustain any damage and will reopen once electrical repairs to the campus can be made.