Design for FEMA shelter at Cassville High School unveiled

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Plans move ahead for second FEMA shelter on R-4 campus This is a rendering of the proposed Cassville High School FEMA shelter, which is slated to be built on the upper parking lot on the north side of the high school building. The view is from the north, looking southeast. The exterior of the building will match the look of the FEMA building currently under construction just north of the middle school gym. Paragon Architecture, out of Springfield, created the rendering and designing the new FEMA building project.

A rendering for a second FEMA-approved shelter building on the Cassville R-4 School campus was finalized this week, and school board members are expected to approve the design for the project at their meeting on Thursday night.

Once the design is green-lighted by the board, it will be sent to FEMA for approval, which could take anywhere from one to two months, according to R-4 Superintendent Richard Asbill. He hopes the project can be bid in October with construction beginning in January 2014.

The second shelter will be built on the north side of the existing high school building where the upper senior parking lot now sits. The project is being designed by the district's new architect, Paragon Architecture, out of Springfield.

The FEMA building at the high school will be considerably smaller than the one currently under construction just north of the middle school gymnasium. The high school building will serve 600 students versus 1,200 at the middle school, intermediate and high school campuses.

The shelter itself will be 5,800 square feet in size. This space will be used as a multipurpose/athletic facility whereas the building on the other campus is designed as a performing arts building.

A hardwood athletic floor surface will be installed in the new high school building, and the facility can be used for volleyball and basketball as well as physical education and health classes. The structure will also include men's and women's restrooms and locker room areas.

"This building should help alleviate scheduling problems we have with our gyms," said Asbill. "It will also provide another community facility as we look to the needs of the rock gym over the next five years. The rock gym is a good facility to have but it will need some tender loving care over the next two to five years."

Due to FEMA regulations, a shelter can't be closer than 10 feet from another existing building. At the high school site, the shelter will be built 20 feet from the north end of the high school to satisfy fire codes. That 20 feet will be utilized to add storage between the two buildings and allow for two hallways that will link the girls' and boys' locker rooms directly into the FEMA building.

From a design standpoint, the new shelter building will be tied into the existing building with the addition of a lobby to provide a much improved entrance into the north side of the high school. This lobby entrance will not replace the school's main entrance, and the commons area at the high school will still be used as the ticket gate for events being held in the gym.

Because the shelter building is being built on the upper parking lot, the district has plans to shift the flow of traffic through the parking lot areas to create better access to lower lots, and there are also plans to add parking spaces in front of the high school.

"We won't be losing any parking; we'll actually pick up 20 to 30 spots depending on how we decide to lay it all out," said Asbill.

The FEMA building on the middle school, intermediate and primary campus is expected to be completed by the first week in August and should be ready to host band, choir and musical performances by the first part of September.

Although no cost estimates have been finalized for the FEMA building at the high school, Asbill estimates the project will come with a $1 million to $1.3 million price tag. Of that cost, approximately 60 percent will come from a FEMA grant. Detailed cost information will be released once the project is approved and goes out to bid.

When the second shelter is completed, every R-4 student in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade can take cover from tornados in a FEMA-approved shelter. The shelters have enough space for faculty members, staff, parent volunteers and community members who live in a certain radius from the facilities.

"If you're on campus, we'll have a FEMA-approved space for you," said Asbill.

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