Cassville receives grant for second FEMA building

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Cassville R-4 School District has qualified for a second FEMA grant, which will be used to construct an emergency shelter on the Cassville High School campus.

"On March 6, we will go for FEMA orientation and find out more specific details on the grant, like how much we have been approved for," said Superintendent Richard Asbill. "Then we can determine the size of the project and know the budget we will be working with."

When the R-4 School District applied for the grant last fall, officials requested funding for a 5,000-square-foot facility.

"The issue people have to recognize is that the size of the facility is dictated by the number of students, teachers and residents located within a certain radius of the location of the building," said Asbill. "In contrast, we have around 1,200 students here (at the primary, intermediate and middle school campus) and around 100 faculty members plus parents and community in the radius.

"At the high school, we have around 600 students and 30 to 40 faculty members, so that facility will be about half the size of the first building project," continued Asbill. "It is not because we didn't want a bigger facility. It is just that the numbers dictate the footage."

The emergency shelter will be constructed on either the west or north side of Cassville High School.

"One of the locations is on the west side of the gym," said Asbill. "If you go out the commons area by the west doors, on the back side of the gym there is a lawn area. We feel this area fits the model best. We could use the commons area as a flow into the FEMA building.

"We also feel this area would offer the best access in the case of an event, like a chamber or activity banquet or basketball or volleyball game," continued Asbill. "We could exit through the commons are into the building."

The second proposed location, on the north side of the building, would be connected to the senior student hallway.

"This was the original location of one of the additions in 1994-95 when the school was built, but the addition did not occur," said Asbill. "The building was built to accommodate a structure there."

Although the first FEMA building, which is currently under construction to the north of the Cassville Middle School gymnasium, will be finished into a multipurpose facility, no plans are currently in place for the emergency shelter that will be built on the high school campus.

"The idea is to provide a FEMA related structure on the high school campus," said Asbill. "During the design phase over the next two months we will be evaluating how to use the facility."

Asbill said that the district and school board could consider using the facility as additional classroom space, a small performance area, a meeting area or an area for physical education and health classes.

"Since we are ending our fiscal year 2012-13, we have no fiscal plans on how we will finish the facility on the inside," continued Asbill. "In contrast to the current building project, which will have rubberized flooring, bleachers, acoustic treatments, we will just be providing the FEMA structure itself.

"There are a lot of things we could do with that space, but we have no fiscal plans, like will we place hardwood floors, rubberized floors or just use stained concrete floors in the facility," said Asbill. "We will be evaluating our needs and determine a way to make good use of the space, but more so, we will provide a safe and secure location for our students, staff and parents in case of an emergency event."

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