Friday, October 28, 2016

Tornado safe rooms approved for Carthage, Purdy schools

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

During a visit to Carthage Middle School Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced he has authorized the State Emergency Management Agency to proceed with a proposal to build a tornado safe room capable of protecting 2,079 students, staff and residents in the Carthage R-9 School District. The Governor has also authorized SEMA to proceed with a proposal to build a tornado safe room capable of protecting 974 students, staff and residents at the Purdy R-2 School District campus in Barry County.

“Making sure we do all we can to protect and advance the lives of Missouri’s children have been among the driving forces throughout my time in office,” Gov. Nixon said. “In an area of our state where tornadoes have left an inordinate amount of destruction, these school safe room projects will help secure our most precious resource.”

According to the Carthage R-9 district’s plans, the safe room space would also be used as a gymnasium. The Governor’s announcement came in a school-wide assembly at Carthage Middle School.

Purdy’s safe room space would also be a standalone building that would be utilized as a performing arts center/multi-purpose facility.

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.

Missouri currently has 195 completed safe rooms across the state. Since Gov. Nixon took office, he has approved or Missouri has moved forward with 191 community safe room projects, 126 of which are in schools, utilizing Federal Emergency Management Agency hazard mitigation grant funds. In all, the completed projects and those being designed and constructed in the state would be capable of protecting more than 215,000 Missourians.

The FEMA program provides 75 percent of funding for pre-approved safe room projects that meet all design and construction standards. Local grant recipients pay the remaining 25 percent of safe room costs.

The federal share of the Carthage project announced today is approximately $2.6 million. The federal share of the Purdy project announced today is approximately $1.3 million. Local applicants still must meet all federal program requirements.

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