Students to return to Key Middle School

HOUSTON Key Middle School students and staff will return to their home school following extensive improvements that have been made at the facility to address air quality and other building issues.

Key Middle School's more than 600 students and staff have been attending classes and working on the campus of Fleming Middle School since September. HISD moved the Key students and staff two miles away to the Fleming campus after some members of the staff reported feeling sick while working in the Key building.

Students are scheduled to have an extra day of spring holiday on Tuesday, March 25, and then will return to classes at Key on March 26.

Independent air quality testing at Key Middle School found no unusual levels of mold or other unusual air quality issues, but officials called in by HISD from the Centers for Disease Control speculated that the Key suffered from they called "damp building syndrome."

HISD facilities and environmental experts, with the help of independent companies, have spent months cleaning the building, including the air conditioning and ventilation systems. Crews removed asbestos, installed new anti-microbial carpeting, replaced ceiling tiles that were damaged by water, repaired the air conditioning system, pressure washed the building, and used bulldozers to change the grading of the land around the school building to improve drainage. HISD will have spent about $3 million on the Key Middle School project during that time.

In February, Key Middle School Principal Mable Caleb announced that she and parents, faculty members and community leaders had decided the Key Middle School family should be moved back to its home campus (4000 Kelley Street, 77026) during Spring Break, the week of March 17.

The construction and renovation work is continuing. During the week of March 10 through March 16, more air quality testing will be completed to make sure the air quality continues to be good. School personnel, parents and community members will be scheduled for school walkthroughs during the latter part of that week.

The physical move of furniture and building contents from Fleming Middle School is scheduled for March 17 through March 21. Teachers will work on March 24 and 25 to set up their classrooms for instruction. Students will arrive on March 26 to resume classes at the Key campus.

"The Key Middle School faculty, staff, students, and community are very elated and excited to return home where our students can receive a quality education," said Principal Caleb. "Our team at Key and HISD central staff are to be commended for their diligent work to prepare for our safe return home."

Here is a summary of the work completed at the Key campus:

  • Removal of carpeting -- New vinyl flooring was installed in some places, and new anti-microbial carpeting is being installed in the library and music rooms
  • New insulation – installed around piping
  • Replacement of all water damaged ceiling tiles
  • All Unit Ventilators cleaned and disinfected by outside contractor
  • Air conditioning repair -- Repair of 350 ton York chiller by outside contractor
  • Repairs to cooling tower
  • Inspections of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment – Completed by outside contractors, including inspections of unit ventilators, piping, air handlers, and the mechanical plant
  • Pressure washing and cleaning of exteriors of buildings
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of all classrooms and surface areas, by HISD custodial staff
  • Discarding of all excess paper, deodorizers and plants
  • Replacement of all textbooks and library books
  • New land grading -- Site modifications were performed to allow for better drainage away from the buildings
  • Repainting

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