FEMA funding allows AIDB to build 3 storm shelters
TALLADEGA — During a meeting Friday, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Executive Council approved authorizing $545,146 in additional funds to support building three storm shelters.

The storm shelters, made possible by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of $1,140,888 awarded in November 2012, are scheduled to be built near the E.H. Gentry Technical Facility, the Helen Keller School of Alabama and the Alabama School for the Blind within the next three to six months.

“This project was initiated by Dr. (Terry) Graham when he was president,” AIDB President Dr. John Mascia said. “Mother Nature continues to remind us how important it is to do whatever it takes to ensure our students and faculty remains safe from severe weather.”

Council members initially approved supporting the project in November 2012, agreeing to chip in $200,000 for the cause. The buildings are expected to cost more than initially projected and now the total contribution needed from AIDB falls nearly $55,000 short of a four-fold increase.

Of the increase, $280,008 will be spent to pay Metro D to put in the foundations and electrical hook-ups for each building.

Chief financial officer David Akins said the original plan was for members of the staff to do some “in kind” work to keep the cost of the project down, but later declared that measure to be impractical because it creates problems if a contractor has an issue while building on someone else’s foundation.

The 54-foot by 36-foot shelters, designed to house nearly 300 people, will feature decorative fixtures on the buildings worth $64,859, a measure Akins deemed important for consistency purposes.

“We’re not trying to make them elaborate, but we want to make sure the buildings fit in with the general decorum of the campus,” Akins said. “We don’t want it to look so obvious the buildings are shelters and make them just look like boxes. We did cut out $47,000 worth of decorative work we felt like we could do without.”

Additional costs associated with the project include $92,000 in architect’s fees, $21,692 for sidewalks and just under $86,400 for canopies to cover the sidewalks leading to the shelters.

In another matter, the council approved authorization for Mascia to entertain bids for an additional floor-cleaning contract.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com.

© 2013