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Texas, Webster Counties to Receive Tornado Safe Rooms

Some schools elect to have a multi-purpose safe room, like this one at Jeffries Elementary in Springfield, which also serves as

Gov. Nixon has announced plans for new tornado safe rooms at five Missouri school districts.

The Missouri Emergency Management Agency will now proceed with proposals, including one for a 4,600 square foot shelter for the Plato School District that will hold about 700 people. Dr. Ben Yocom is the superintendent.

“Our primary mission here is to provide protection in the event of a disaster or storm for not only our students and staff but also our community members. The nearest structure like this is approximately 30 miles away, so it’s great for our community and we hope it will serve positive for everyone involved,” Yocom said.

The safe room grant program, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides 75 percent of funding for pre-approved projects. That will account for $5.7 million of the cost of the new safe rooms in Missouri, according to Nixon. Local applicants still must meet all federal program requirements and will pay the remaining 25 percent.

For the Fordland School District, a proposed 4,000 square foot safe room would also serve as a new permanent early childhood center and house 500 people. Superintendent Richard Spacek says while the school is still awaiting approval for the safe room, they’re excited about the possibility.

So we are really still kind of reserved we are appreciated of the governor making his announcement its generated a lot of interest, we’re tentatively excited because we’re not sure what’s going to take place next, but it’s a huge opportunity for us to be able to offer something great to our kids,” said Spacek.

Missouri currently has 104 completed safe rooms across the state. Nixon has approved 188 community safe room projects, 121 of which are in schools.