Houston Elementary School Beautified by BrightView, Volunteers

Industry-leading landscape company donated materials and led volunteer teams to enhance school campus damaged by Hurricane Harvey

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BrightView Helps Restore Houston Hillard Elementary School
More than 600 volunteers from across the country came together to restore the campus at Hilliard Elementary. (​​Photo courtesy of HISD News Blog)

The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, estimated at more than $125 billion, is the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history. The storm brought with it record flooding, devastating Hilliard Elementary School in East Houston.

The floodwater pooled in hallways and classrooms, ruining furniture and supplies, leaving the district no choice but a major overhaul of the building. All 600 students were transferred to a nearby school.

Recently, an event, sponsored by Recovery Houston, BrightView, OJB Landscape Architecture, and Numotion, brought 640 volunteers from across the country together to restore the campus grounds of Hilliard Elementary.

Scott Blons, Technical Director at OJB, and his team assisted with plant selections and BrightView Landscape Development’s Dallas and Houston teams donated 3,000 shrubs, 300 trees, mulch and gravel to the project. The BrightView teams also coached 30 volunteer teams to install the new landscape which includes an outdoor classroom, community garden, picnic area, and a play space.

“The grounds were dated and needed upgrades even before the hurricane,” said Garrett Brock, Project Manager with BrightView Landscape Development. “The new landscape provides a warm welcome to students and visitors and will help kids get involved in outdoor activities.”

Houston Hillard Elementary School Planter Beds
Volunteer teams planted more than 3,000 shrubs and 300 trees on the campus. (Photo courtesy of KPRC Houston) 

Staff at Hilliard Elementary said they are delighted with their beautiful new campus and it has served as an inspiration for the community. The school’s interior was also renovated and the refurbished campus will be ready for students to return for the 2018-19 school year.

“We were thankful for the opportunity to assist with the supplies and materials, and help beautify the campus, but the real hero is Recovery Houston for managing hundreds of volunteers, most whom were non-Houstonians,” Brock said. “They are doing amazing work to rebuild this community and it was special to be a part of it.”

This project is the latest effort in BrightView’s response to the three major Atlantic hurricanes. Immediately following Harvey, one of BrightView’s Houston teams found their office flooded and worked out of their trucks to clean-up debris and respond to client sites. Other team members left their homes and conducted a rescue mission in flooded neighborhoods. The company’s Florida teams were out assessing the damage while Hurricane Irma was still active in the state. BrightView also matched employee donations from across the country to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

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