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The Lake News Online
  • Eldon schools getting safe room

  • 2014 looks like it will bring more construction projects to lake area school districts. The Eldon R-I School District will join the likes of Camdenton and Osage with its own project.
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  • 2014 looks like it will bring more construction projects to lake area school districts. The Eldon R-I School District will join the likes of Camdenton and Osage with its own project.
    Eldon has recently been awarded a grant that will go toward building a community safe room.
    "One of the highest priorities of Eldon Schools is to keep our kids safe. The District has been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and we recently received notification that we have been awarded a grant to build a community safe room. This new structure will help protect our students, faculty and community members in the event of severe weather," Superintendent Matt Davis said. "The proposed project will be a detached single story safe room and will shelter 1,209 people during the event of a storm and will be approximately 9,000 square feet. The building will be multi-purpose and when not needed for a safe room, it will be utilized for elementary classrooms and other activities."
    Currently, both the high school and middle schools have basement areas which provide students and faculty with storm protection. After evaluating their facilities, district officials decided the safe room would best serve the students at the elementary campuses. The safe room will sit in between South Elementary and Upper Elementary. South Elementary has approximately 622 students and Upper Elementary has around 401 students, with an additional 161 adults between the two buildings.
    "After watching the news this past May and seeing the devastation that occurred in Oklahoma, the Eldon School District wanted to be proactive in protecting our students," Davis added. "The District is excited about the opportunity to provide a safer place for our kids and community."
    As of now, the elementary buildings only have interior classrooms that protect students during tornados and severe weather. Besides providing a safe place for the faculty and students, the safe room will be open to any person in the community seeking refuge from a potential storm.
    The State Emergency Management Agency has initially agreed to pay for $885,000.
    When not being used as a tornado safe room, the building will be multifunctional.
    According to district officials, one of the key concepts of the building is the fact that 1,200 people must be able to enter the facility within five minutes. For this to happen, a large open space is needed and as a result, most tornado safe rooms serve as multipurpose facilities.
    Approximately 3,500 square feet of the building will be an open multipurpose area which can be used for Parents as Teachers activities, indoor recess and after school practice facilities, particularly the district's wrestling program and so on.
    Another function of the safe room, especially the smaller subdivided sections, will be to provide an Early Learning Center. Currently, South Elementary has special education teachers sharing classrooms. Both Early Childhood Special Education classrooms will be moved into the tornado safe room, along with Parents as Teachers and the district's occupational therapy assistant. This will allow the teachers to have their own classrooms and the district to expand their preschool program by one teacher.
    Page 2 of 2 - All of the construct documents have been delivered to FEMA and the district should know when construction is to begin within six to eight weeks.
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