The damage left in the wake of the Oklahoma tornado has shed light on what drills and procedures are in place at our schools and what more can be done to keep our kids safe.
At the Cardinal Community School District, the process to construct a safe room began in 2010. Construction has now begun, and is scheduled to be complete anywhere between September and November of this year. The shelter is half-funded by FEMA grants and will be built to FEMA requirements, able to withstand up to EF5 winds and will be able to house all the elementary school students.
The decision to build the shelter was not a direct result of any one incident, but rather, a proactive choice to protect students.
"The elementary school wasn't built to withstand some of those strong winds, so we really feel like we were being very proactive with building the safe room and feeling good about our decision, especially after some of the footage out of Oklahoma and our thoughts go out to everyone that's being affected in Oklahoma too, but we're trying to be proactive to keeping something like that from causing damage here," said Joel Pedersen, Superintendent of Cardinal School District. "Especially in our open, rural setting, in our school district, we think it's important."
Pedersen said the elementary students have been excited watching construction and seeing the walls of the shelter come up, and once the safe room is complete, all students will participate in drills so they know what to do in the case of severe weather.
The district will also be posting updates and pictures on the Cardinal District's Facebook page.