The Fifth Ward’s Old Bruce Elementary School: Lead Scraped and Ready!

Swamplot’s new “Bottom” of the Fifth Ward correspondent Vaughn Mueller reports from the site of the old Bruce Elementary School, where a sign indicates the property is for sale. A source tells Swamplot that a few details need to be worked out before it’s “officially” on the market, but an HISD web page provides some information about the property.

The school, which was closed at the end of the spring 2007 semester, sits along Cage and Bringhurst on the I-10 feeder road, and comprises a little more than 2 blocks. Mueller reports that the new Bruce Elementary (built by a 2002 HISD bond) less than a mile away on Jensen opened its doors in the fall of 2007.

Why the move?


. . . it was 87 years old when it closed its doors. Upkeep was probably a contributing factor. Another consideration had to be the MDI site across the street; according to the EPA, the school was in the cleanup zone for the superfund site.

What’s lurking nearby?

“Chemicals of concern” on the MDI property include lead, manganese, molybdenum, benzo(a)pyrene, “Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons” and asbestos. For the surrounding area, which includes the school, and which the EPA refers to as “operating unit 2,” lead is the only chemical listed.

According to the agency’s latest report, the EPA completed “removal actions” on the school in November 2003 and June 2005:

The purpose of the Removal Actions was to remove surface soil with concentrations of lead that equaled or exceeded the cleanup goal of 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) to reduce the exposure of children and adults to lead. The EPA believes that these Removal Actions addressed all of the residential yards and [High Access Areas] that could have been affected by the air emissions of particulates containing lead from the former foundry and for which the EPA was granted access for sampling.

Says our correspondent:

According to the same release by the EPA, updated in June of 2009, cleanup at the site has been completed to safe levels. It should be now be ok to build on and around the previous superfund location, at least I sure hope it is considering I live 1 block away

Photos of old Bruce Elementary School, 713 Bringhurst St. (locations indicated on map): Vaughn Mueller

8 Comment

  • Man, someone sure is going to have fun reading the environmental report that goes along with this piece of property. I’d expect that this land stays in public hands for a while.

  • Well I Can Honestly Say That Those ,
    4 Years I Was In The ”Old Bruce” It
    was Amazing I Really Enjoyed Learning
    Their (:

  • I really miss those days. They were the best. Teachers included- Ms Turrin, Mr. Ricks, Ms Holly, Mr. Garrett, Ms. Smith, Mr. Lewis and Ms. Green.

  • I sure miss those days, I lived one street away from Bruce Elementary I still go through there ever day I wish we could go back in time to how it us to be , I have pictures of when I was with Mrs . Foster in pre-k and Mr.Vales, Ms . Davis , and Mr, Davis and , Mr . Holiday the computer class teacher and many more it would be nice if we all could get together for one last time. I’ll never forget the thing I had fun doing or the Teacher’s that I had that made me who I am now …

  • I attended Bruce when Mr. Smith was the principal, and I finished when Ms.?? (memory failure). Mr. Garret and I were raised in the same neighborhood across the street from Bruce. After reading the toxicity reports, it makes you wonder how we all survived back in those days. Bruce had a community feel to it. Some of the teachers and our principal lived nearby. Mr. Richardson, Ms. Green, and to all those other special teachers who empowered us, we are very grateful that you all believed in us.

  • 1980-85 we’re d best years of my childhood when I attended old Bruce only d great memories is what I hold now not 2 mention field day I has a good run ders wit my older brother Jose Macias sure wish I could see sum of my old buddies Juan Calderon; Jose Zapata; n Hugo Flores ohbdont forget my first girlfriend good old Mayra Calderon

  • 1980-85 was when I attended old Bruce! Those sure where d BEST years of my childhood. From ms patrilo to Mr lewis me n my brother Jose Macias had a GREAT RUN there oh n ms Gonzalez sure had fun when it came 2 field day remember! G OOD MEMORIES! sure wish I could see sum of my old buddies Juan Calderon Jose Zapata. Hugo Flores n my first girlfriend Mayra Calderon

  • Hi to everyone who attended Bruce E.School from 80-85.Damd i miss dose days..Thanks to my teachers MsHolly,Taylor,Fernandez,Fine n Ms Thomson..Yup 80s were dem good old days..Also Hi to my good old friends Jose Echeverria,OmarDias n my bro John Macias..we still talk n think of dose days at Bruce..Seeing my bro get paddle by Mr.Lewis was fun to watch hahahaha love you bro..ders alot of memories left behind but not forgotten till dis day i still dream my childhood in Bruce how can i forget my girl Rosa Hernandez hi wherever u may be..take care to everyone n Bruce E School heads up..later.