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Joplin Schools celebrates safe room addition to elementary schoo - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Schools celebrates safe room addition to elementary school

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The new gym and safe room is new in more ways than one.

"It's actually the first edition to west central ever, so we're kind of excited to have a new addition and new office space for the staff and everything too, so we're really excited about it," said principal Bret Ingle.

The school building dates back to 1928. The new modern structure on the west end is a welcome extension.  

"This has been a long time coming," said teacher Dana Shadwick. "The teachers, the staff, the children, we're all excited about having this new addition to our building."

School officials say the primary use of the space is a gymnasium. It features a smaller basketball court  and bench seating.  

"We can use it for indoor recesses when it's raining," said Ingle. "We're not having to share the cafeteria for pe classes and things like that, it give us a lot more space to work with."

It's also there for the community, various school-related events, and as a safe room. During and after school hours, it will be available to residents who live within a quarter mile radius from the school to take shelter during severe weather.

Some who live near by, welcome this.

"Because most people don't have even a basement," said Justin Shields, who lives across the street. "And they need a safe place to go."

"It doesn't really feel like a shelter," said Ingle. "We'll have things to do for the kids. It will be more relaxed even though the weather may be scary."

Ingle says the entire building process was an event in itself for the students.  

"Because they got to see it go up all year. We got to see the big steel walls come in, the concrete walls and everything. We got to see it, basically, from the ground up."

On Tuesday, faculty, students and family gathered in the new gym and shelter to celebrate the finished product.

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