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State Officials: There Aren't Enough School Shelters

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS 2/FOX 28)- State officials are concerned for the safety of students in Iowa schools.

Pierce Elementary School doesn't have a tornado safe room for students.
But because of funding and older classrooms they do have 'safe places' where they go during a severe weather emergency.

"This would be a good safe place for students," Principal Becky DeWald said when showing one of the hallways where students would go during a severe weather emergency.

She says teachers look out for students' safety and have designated 'safe spots.'

"We always try to put students where there is 2 brick walls," she said.

Students are also taught how to react when severe weather hits.

"Students know exactly what to do when they hear that tornado bell ring," the principal said. "They know they go in the halls, they get down, they cover their head and they are absolutely quiet."

But school officials know the hallways don't offer the same level of safety as 'safe rooms'.

Linn County Emergency Management crews look at each individual school and give guidance to the schools on the recommended shelters already in place at the school.

"They survey our buildings and give us the best places to go," Cedar Rapids Schools Superintendent David Benson said."They aren't the purpose built safe rooms and I certainly know the difference."

State officials have funded 40 projects that involved adding severe weather safe rooms in 33 school districts. 32 of those 40 safe rooms have been completed.

FEMA officials say safe rooms should be designed to withstand 250 mph winds and resist a 15 pound 2x4 board traveling at speeds up to 100 mph.

School officials know these standards, but also have to work with what they have.

And down these hallways, Pierce Elementary School teachers say they will go the extra mile for their students' safety.

 "You always want to emphasize that practice makes them safe."

Many schools have trouble finding the best place to add a safe room because the current lay-out of the building makes it difficult to add a new room.

State officials say they hope to have more safe rooms installed in schools for the future.


Here is the list of completed safe rooms. All were funded by Iowa HSEMD.

Alburnett CSD, K12, Alburnett, IA, Linn County, in the amount of $1,248,433 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as classrooms to protect the at-risk population of 804 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Anamosa CSD, MS, Anamosa, IA, Jones County, in the amount of $722,015 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room addition as a wrestling room/lockers to protect the at-risk population of 537 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Bedford CSD, K12, Bedford, IA, Taylor County in the amount of $819,752 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used for physical activities to protect the at-risk population of 650 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Construction not started out for bid.


Bondurant-Farrar CSD, HS, Bondurant, IA, Polk County, in the amount of $1,478,625 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as classrooms for the industrial technology and art rooms to protect the at-risk population of 611 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Bondurant-Farrar CSD, MS, Bondurant, IA, Polk County, in the amount of $1,008,453 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as four classrooms to protect the at-risk population of 641 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Burlington CSD, HS, Burlington, IA, Des Moines County, in the amount of $1,211,143 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room attached to the high school. The addition will also be used as a wrestling room/cardio exercise room to include restrooms. The tornado safe room will provide near absolute life protection for 1,347 students, staff, and visitors during the day and during school events. Completed


Cardinal CSD, Elem, Eldon, IA, Wapello County, in the amount of $638,453 to construct a new cafeteria addition to the existing elementary school. The tornado safe room will provide near absolute life protection for 373 Students, staff, and visitors during the day and during school events. Completed


Cedar Falls CSD, Sports Complex, Cedar Falls, IA, Black Hawk County, in the amount of $843,570 to construct new facility near school athletic fields to include batting cage and rest rooms. The tornado safe room will provide near absolute life protection for 271 identified/ quantified at-risk population. Completed


Cedar Rapids CSD, (Administrative Building), Cedar Rapids, IA, Linn County, in the amount of $596,260 to construct a multi-purpose safe room to be used as offices for the Administrative Staff to protect the at-risk population of 466 staff and visitors. Completed


Creston CSD, HS, Creston, IA, Union County, in the amount of $1,095,518 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as classrooms to protect the at-risk population of 641 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Creston CSD, MS, Creston, IA, Union County, in the amount of $1,505,096 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a sports complex to protect the at-risk population of 730 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Danville CSD (K-12), Danville, IA, Des Moines County, in the amount of $1,010,938 to construct 4 multi-purpose pre-school and daycare classrooms to protect the at-risk population of 851 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


East Union CSD, Elem, Afton, IA, Union County in the amount of $967,715 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as classrooms to protect the at-risk population of 660 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Fort Madison CSD (4th-8th) a safe room which will be part of a new safe room/auditorium to protect the at-risk population of 1,008 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Gilbert CSD, HS, Gilbert, IA, Story County in the amount of $686,894 to construct a multi-purpose wrestling room to protect the at-risk population of 624 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Grundy Center CSD (5th-12th) to construct a multi-use space to be used as classrooms to be attached to the high school building. This will protect the at-risk population of 488 students, staff and visitors. 


Howard-Winneshiek CSD (Day Care & Pre-K), Lime Springs, IA, Howard County in the amount of $575,000 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used for the Pre-K/daycare center attached to the elementary school. This will protect the at-risk population of 286 pre-school children, daycare children, elementary students and staff. Completed


Independence CSD, HS, Independence, IA, Buchanan County, in the amount of $956,723 to construct a multi-functional safe room as an addition to the new high school to protect 712 students/ staff and visitors. Completed


Iowa State University/Administrative Services Building, Ames, Iowa, Story County, in the amount of $626,706 to construct an addition to the Administrative Services Building to be used as a multi-purpose room. This will provide absolute life protection to 239 students, staff, and visitors.


Iowa State University/Child Care Center, Ames, Iowa, Story County, in the amount of $339,829 to construct an addition to the Veterinary Medicine Child Care Center for a safe room. This will provide protection for 124 at-risk children, staff, and visitors.


Lake Mills CSD (K-12), Lake Mills, Winnebago County, in the amount of $1,130,010 to construct a multi-purpose room to protect the at-risk population of 905 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. 


Lamoni CSD, K12, Lamoni, IA , Decatur County in the amount of $395,403 to construct a large open room and restrooms to protect the at-risk population of 434 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Lenox CSD, (K-12), Lenox, IA , Taylor County in the amount of $767,051 to construct a 4-classroom addition on the elementary wing to protect the at-risk population of 426 students and staff. Completed



Mason City CSD, MS/HS, Mason City, IA, Cerro Gordo County, in the amount of $2,521,672 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as an activity room to protect the at-risk population of 1,789 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Mount Ayr CSD, HS, Mount Ayr, IA, Ringgold County, in the amount of $635,290 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a weight/wrestling room to protect the at-risk population of 669 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Nevada CSD, HS, Nevada, IA, Story County, in the amount of $2,156,541 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a wrestling room to protect the at-risk population of 1,371 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Newman Catholic School (Pre-K-12), Mason City, IA, Cerro Gordo County, in the amount of $857,760 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a music classroom to protect the at-risk population of 874 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Northeast CSD, HS, Goose Lake, IA, Clinton County, in the amount of $2,720,467 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as an auditorium to protect the at-risk population of 968 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed


North Iowa CSD, K12, Buffalo Center, Winnebago County, in the amount of $1,135,969 to construct a new gymnasium in the PreK-12 school building. The safe room will protect 702 students, staff, and spectators attending school activities.


Shenandoah CSD, HS, Shenandoah, IA, Page County, in the amount of $509,916 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe to be used as a wrestling room to protect the at-risk population of 763 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


United CSD, Elem, Boone County the school district is located in rural Boone County in the amount of $543,875. The purposed constructed safe room will serve as classrooms. This will be constructed between the Learning Center and the 2-6 Grade Center. The safe room will protect an at-risk population of 465 students, staff, and visitors. Completed


Valley CSD, K12, Elgin, IA, Clayton County in the amount of $727,361. The community safe room will serve the Kindergarten through 12th grand campus. The proposed project consists of a wrestling/multi-purpose room and restrooms. This safe room provides near absolute life protection to 605 at-risk students, staff, and visitors. Completed


Waverly Shell-Rock CSD, MS, Waverly, IA, Bremer County, in the amount of $1,453,859 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as an auditorium to protect the at-risk population of 1,130 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Waverly Shell-Rock CSD, HS, Waverly, IA, Bremer County, in the amount $1,344,827 to construct a new science department of 4 classrooms, offices and a conference room to meet the FEMA 361 Design and Construction for a community safe room. The design will protect the at-risk population of 1,002 students, staff, and visitors to the high school.



West Central Valley CSD, Elem, Stuart, IA, Guthrie County in the amount of $674,500 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a multi-use facility/ classroom to protect the at- risk population of 406 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


West Central Valley CSD, HS, Stuart, IA, Guthrie County in the amount of $725,000 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a wrestling room to protect the at-risk population of 493 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


West Des Moines Valley CSD, HS, West Des Moines, IA, Polk County in the amount of $2,047,323 to construct an addition to the 10-12 building as a multi-purpose wrestling/ strength/ fitness room to protect the at-risk population of 2,386 students and staff. Completed


West Liberty CSD, HS, West Liberty, IA, Muscatine County in the amount of $873,000 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as a weight/wrestling room to protect the at-risk population of 774 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Western Dubuque CSD, Elem, Dyersville, IA, Dubuque County in the amount of $989,355 to construct a multi-purpose tornado safe room to be used as classrooms to protect the at-risk population of 532 students, staff, and visitors attending school functions. Completed


Williamsburg CSD, HS, Williamsburg, IA, Iowa County in the amount of $1,020,889 to construct a multi-purpose wrestling room and locker rooms to protect the at-risk population of 1,158 students, staff and visitors attending school functions. Completed

    

 

 
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