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Webb City Schools receive multi-million dollar FEMA grant - KOAM TV 7

Webb City Schools receive multi-million dollar FEMA grant

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Webb City schools have received a multi-million dollar grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help fund storm safe rooms in the area.

Superintendent Dr. Anthony Rossetti says Webb City schools will receive around  six million dollars from FEMA for the construction of three tornado safe rooms. But that number could increase to nine million if two other safe rooms still under consideration are approved.

"Our master planning process is to try and figure out how we can establish some kind of safe facility at each one of our ten centers," Dr. Anthony Rossetti, Superintendent, Webb City School District said. "So this gets us quicker into that master planning process."

The largest of the storm safe rooms will be located at Webb city high school, right next to the football stadium, and will be able to hold up to three thousand students and community members. The cost of the large safe room is assumed to be ten million dollars.

"In the area of Webb city there is very limited space and room for where do people go that don't have a good place for shelter in case of a tornado", Rossetti said.

The district has nine months to submit design plans for the safe rooms and eighteen months to complete the project. And while news hasn't yet reached many Webb City citizens-most seem to feel safer knowing extra shelter will be available in their area.

Smaller shelters will be built for students at Harry S and Bess Truman Elementaries and most likely near Webster Elementary.

"You're the first person who has informed me of this," said Webb City School District Employee Deanna McDaniels. "But I think that anything that could help out our community for safety and refuge is a very important issue." 

"In Jr High we had a storm, and I got really scared, cause we had to go in the halls" said Rachel Miller, 12th grade student of Webb City High School. "So now that we're going to have those I think I'll feel a little bit more safe at school." 

"That's a pretty good deal," said Sarah Clark, Webb City Resident. "We don't live too far so that would be good because we don't have a basement, we used to, but now we don't."

While FEMA is supplying seventy-five percent of the costs, the district is still responsible for the remaining twenty-five percent--or roughly two and a half million dollars. Something Rossetti says will likely come from reserve balances, or possibly a no tax increase levy, this April. 

The FEMA grant is the second awarded in Webb City this year. FEMA is also paying more than one million dollars toward Crowder College's campus for a similar weather safe structure on its campus.

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