EW may apply for Safe Room grant

Kate Wehlann

Architect Cindy McLoed shows possible locations for safe room projects on the East Washington campus.

During their monthly board meeting on Tuesday, the East Washington School Board heard from architects working on potential plans the school could use to apply for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would cover 75% of the cost of a tornado-proof addition on campus, up to $5 million, with the school covering the remaining 25%.

Superintendent Dennis Stockdale said FEMA is being very proactive right now in offering grants to schools, especially in places where tornadoes are common.
“They’re being very proactive with schools,” he said. “We’re in that red cone, which is the highest probability [of adverse weather events], so they’re putting a lot of dollars into being proactive.”

A stand-alone building between the two student-occupied buildings offered substantial location limitations. The only space large enough for the 1,600 people on campus during a typical school day would require the demolition of at least part of the current bus barn, adding to the cost of the project. The separate spaces at each of the two buildings would cost less and be more secure as no one would be leaving the building to access it. Either way, the safe room spaces would be made of pre-cast concrete that could be fitted with outside veneers to make these spaces fit in with the exterior of the school buildings.

The stand-alone building would cost between $7,987,563 and $9,728,869. Putting one safe room at each building would cost between $6,962,074.67 and $8,625,656.88, with the safe room at the high/middle school costing between $4,455,990 and $5,531,245 and the safe room at the elementary school costing between $2,506,084 and $3,094,412. Both would hold about 750 people.

Nothing was approved or voted on during Tuesday’s meeting, but this discussion will continue at upcoming work sessions and meetings, the next of which will be Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, respectively. These meetings take place at 6 p.m. in the school administration building.


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