Formal groundbreaking held for Purdy storm shelter

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Tuesday for the new storm shelter, performing arts center and preschool building at the Purdy schools campus. Pictured, from left, are: Mike Freitas, project manager with R.E. Smith Construction; Kirsten Whitehead, project manager and architect with Paragon Architecture; Purdy Associate Superintendent Mindi Gates; school board members Ken Terry, Russ Neill, Trae Goetz, Todd Schaller and Randy Henderson; Principals Derek Banwart and Julie Dalton; and Superintendent Steven Chancellor. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat

School officials, students turn out for community milestone

Ground was formally broken for the new storm shelter, performing arts center and preschool for the Purdy school district in a ceremony held on Tuesday at the construction site.

Most of the students who were not testing came out to the site to cheer on the official start of the $3.1 million project. This will be the first FEMA approved storm shelter inside the city, and is being built large enough to house all the city's residents in case of a severe storm.

"We started our application for funding with FEMA over five years ago," said Superintendent Steven Chancellor. "It took a lot of work and time. Today we realize it was worth the wait."

"It's a wonderful day for Purdy," said Randy Henderson, school board president. "We're hearing the kids talk about it. We didn't realize it [having a storm shelter] was on their minds that much."

Chancellor added that with construction underway, the building will be up and ready for use at the peak of tornado season this fall.

"In the bet case scenario, we will never have to use it," Chancellor said. "If the situation arose, we'll be ready to go."

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