More Tornado Shelters for MO
Hawthorne Elementary School will be the site of Mexico's soon to be storm shelter. The city needed it, so the school district combined two needs in one project.
"If you constructed your gymnasium according to FEMA standards as a tornado safe room, then you are able to get 75 percent of the funding from FEMA," said Lynn Becker, Hawthorne Elementary School Principal.
The school district will have to cover the remaining $500,000, but they say the cost is worth it.
"We can meet the needs of the grant and provide the safe room for the community and yet also be able to expand our facilities with a minimal match by the district," said Steven Kreyling, Mexico School Board Business Manager.
The shelter will be built on this playground at Hawthorne Elementary. It will be able to hold 2,000 people. Also any member of the community within 5 minutes driving can use it, and the shelter will be able to withstand 250 mile per hour winds. The school will be connected to the shelter by a hallway in order to fit FEMA standards. The building is at Hawthorne partly because of its location to other schools.
"During the schoolday, we felt like not only my building at Hawthorne Elementary but also the high school and technical and vocational school could also use our building and still get there in five minutes," Becker said.It's a distance that could mean everything. Depending on how soon construction begins, the shelter could be open by the summer 2009.