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Carl Junction school officials discuss next step for bringing storm shelters to the district

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Carl Junction school officials discuss the next step for bringing storm shelters to the district.

64 percent of voters approved a $16.5 million bond issue in Carl Junction's election yesterday.

"I'm going to feel safe," said Luke Miller, parent.

Miller says knowing that storm shelters are on the way to the school his daughter, Katie, attends, brings him some peace of mind.

"It hits home for me because I was in the Joplin tornado in 2011," he said. "My wife and I, and Katie, actually were wiped out, so that's why we live in Carl now."

His daughter is currently in the kindergarten and first grade building, which will receive a storm shelter that doubles as classrooms.

A second shelter will go to the 2nd through 6th grade center, serving as gym space and a cafeteria.

And a third, doubling as a multi-purpose facility, will go in at the high school.

"All of our students will have access," said Phil Cook, superintendent. "They don't have to go outside. It fits into our master plan, and the big part of it is that we wanted it to be used by hundreds of kids on a daily basis, and we've accomplished all of those things."

Officials say the debt service levy will increase by 10 cents, meaning about $19 a year for a property with an assessed valuation of $100,000.

"I hate taxes like everyone else does, but that was something we really, really needed," said Bill Dunn, Fire Chief. "It's been a concern of mine for a long, long time."

The shelters, two of which will be open to the public, will be able to hold up to nearly 4,400 people.

Officials are now working with architects to finalize the design.

"The board will approve the contract hopefully at our April school board meeting," Cook said. "We'll break ground within just a few weeks after that."

Cook says the shelters will bring an important sense of safety and security to Carl Junction.

"Hopefully, they'll be able to take a deep breath and relax and know their children are safe here," Cook said.

"Hope it never happens, but if it does, then everyone is going to know where to go," Miller said.

Officials say residents will not see any increase in their taxes until 2015.

Construction of the shelters is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.
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