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Tornado Safe Rooms to be Built at Three Schools in Southwest Missouri

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Marshfield Mail

Three area school districts will receive federal grant money to build tornado safe rooms.  The State Emergency Management Agency says the $3.5 million in Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants have been awarded to schools in Christian, Lawrence and McDonald Counties. 

Sparta Schools plans to build a stand-alone safe room on its elementary/middle school campus; the Miller District says it will build a stand-alone safe room on its high school campus; and the Neosho School District plans to build a stand-alone safe room at Goodman Elementary.

The Goodman Elementary School campus took a direct hit by an EF-2 tornado on April 4, 2017. School was not in session when the tornado hit at 6:48 p.m. The school sustained extensive damage and was determined to be a total loss.

The safe rooms require a local contribution of 10 to 25 percent. They’ll be able to shelter a total of more than 2,250 people.

According to the state Emergency Management Agency, community safe rooms are specially designed and engineered structures, built to withstand 250 mile per hour winds, often utilizing 14-inch precast concrete and steel-reinforced doors. Walls and roof sections are capable of withstanding impacts from windborne debris that can act as missiles.