Photos courtesy of Mauriceville Middle SchoolFor Director of Maintenance Phillip Matthews, it was a familiar sight: hulking waves of maple rising off the Mauriceville Middle School gym floor.

The last time he saw it was in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District (LCMCISD) in Orange County, Texas. This time it was tropical depression Imelda, which flooded the area on Sept. 19.

Matthews, who has led the maintenance department of LCMCISD for 17 years, was able to access the gym for the first time roughly 48 hours after the storm hit and the floods subsided.

“We’ve been through it before,” he said of the dramatically swollen gym floor. “There’s no salvaging it.”

The school’s staff focused on saving what they could in other areas of the building before the district’s remediation contractor began renovation work. Whereas Hurricane Harvey had destroyed three of the school district’s gymnasiums, Imelda damaged only two. The Mauriceville Middle School gym floor had been replaced just one year before after being destroyed by Harvey.

“Harvey did produce more rain and more damage, but this one was plenty,” Matthews said.

Middle school students have been relocated to the district’s high school building during the renovation, which will include installation of another new gym floor. The new floor will be installed by Houston-based NAH Sports Flooring, which had installed the school’s previous floor as well, according to Matthews.

The school district is aiming to have the building and its new gym floor ready for students by around Thanksgiving time.

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Greg Schenck: Tropical Depression Imelda ‘Worse than Harvey’