By Emma Crawford Kent
TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District has been given the green light to move forward with construction of storm shelters at Carver, Joyner and Thomas Street elementary schools.
Andy Cantrell, director of operations for TPSD, announced at a school board meeting Tuesday designs for the shelters had been approved by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Designs for the MEMA safe rooms were submitted by the school district this past summer for approval.
The project is funded by a grant from MEMA. Through the grant, the state agency will cover 90 percent of the cost, and the remaining 10 percent will be covered by TPSD.
The estimated total cost of the project is $2,057,000, with TPSD funding just more than $200,000 of the work.
The safe rooms also will double as multipurpose rooms on each school campus, and superintendent Gearl Loden said they will be used mainly for art, music and physical education.
The safe rooms will be built to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour.
Carver’s safe room will be about 2,208 square feet with a capacity for at least 382 people.
The safe room at Joyner will be approximately 3,439 square feet and accommodate at least 596 people.
The safe room at Thomas Street will be nearly 3,424 square feet and accommodate at least 593 people.
“The FEMA safe room projects allow our district to provide another layer of safety for our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Cantrell said. “Once these buildings are constructed, we will have made a significant safety improvement which aligns with one of our TPSD goals of creating and maintaining a safe and secure learning environment.”
District officials and architects from JBHM Architects will meet with MEMA representatives for a project kick-off meeting before the bidding process begins.