Once the Williams Intermediate School shelters, which are being built in two different locations, are completed, half the School System’s schools will have storm shelters that can withstand tornado type winds.
“The shelters can withstand 250 mph winds,” said Gary Mozingo, facilities supervisor for the School System.
The storm shelters, which will also serve as classrooms, have enough space for two and four classrooms in each shelter addition.
Mozingo said construction of the shelters began in late April and are expected to be completed by Aug. 9. He said students will return to school Aug. 19.
“We’ll probably have a few things left to do on the punch list,” he said.
The cost of the shelters is about $1 million.
Mozingo said a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will pay for half the cost of the dual-use shelters.
He said he also expects the school board to begin accepting bids for the construction of a 5,000 square foot storm shelter at the high school. The shelter will actually join the Pell City Center Performing Arts Theatre.
Mozingo said work on the high school storm shelter could start as soon as October.
He said FEMA will pick up about 75 percent of the construction cost because the facility does not have a dual purpose — the facility is strictly a storm shelter.
Moningo said the high school already has a storm shelter, which is part of the school cafeteria, but with the addition of the new shelter at the Pell City Center, there will be enough storm shelter space for all the high school students and employees.
He said grants for storm shelters were applied for the intermediate and high schools because those two schools have the largest student populations, which is a consideration for grant approvals.
The Pell City School System also has storm shelters at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary School, a dual-purpose shelter that also serves as part of that school’s cafeteria, and at Iola Roberts Elementary School, which has a dual-purpose storm shelter that also serves as classrooms.
The remaining schools in the system, Coosa Valley Elementary School, Eden Elementary School, Duran North and Duran South Junior High Schools do not have storm shelters.
“We take them as we go,” Mozingo said. “Those two schools (the high school and intermediate school) have the biggest student populations.”
He said the School System’s goal is to have storm shelters in all system schools.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.