BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington High School senior Solomon Reyes stepped in time and kept tempo on his drums as he played for the first time this school year in a familiar yet new place, Bobcat Stadium.
“It felt good to be out there on our home turf,” said Solomon, 17, about performing Friday with the high school band in the stadium, which closed because of damages caused by Hurricane Harvey. “We have our cafeteria back, we have our gym back and we have our stadium back. It feels good to be back.”
The Bloomington school district celebrated the homecoming season at its newly repaired stadium at Friday’s football game and at the high school’s dance Saturday in the campus cafeteria.
Since the hurricane 13 months ago, the district has almost fully recovered from the damage.
Sophomore Jenny Baladez looked forward to having fun at the homecoming dance with her friends.
The newly renovated facilities are all-around better, said Jenny, 16, which carried over into the school year.
The school year after Harvey feels different, said senior Adrian Rojas.
“It feels good,” said Adrian, 18, about making his last memories as a high school student at his campus. “I can’t believe it’s happening.”
The Bloomington school district sustained about $12.4 million in damages after the hurricane, said Misty Brasfield, assistant superintendent.
The district will recoup a majority of the funds through insurance and is waiting for $638,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for three pending projects. After those projects are covered, the district will have fully recovered from the damage, Brasfield said.
A tax increase was not part of the recovery plan because of how the community was affected by the disaster, she said.
District officials planned for natural disasters during the rebuilding process by adding sealed doors in case of flooding and adjusting the air conditioning units that blew off during Harvey.
“Everything we could make heavier, we did,” Brasfield said.
The district is in the process of fixing the roof on the band hall and the agriculture building using a grant it received from the Rebuild Texas Fund, she said. After the football season, the track at the stadium will be rebuilt.
Despite the work to come, students remain excited about starting the school year at their campus.
Freshman Mallorie Rankin, 14, said she is enjoying lunchtime and having the homecoming dance in the school’s newly renovated cafeteria.
“It feels good to be home,” said Mallorie.