Quantcast

The Columbia Elementary Safe Room In Joplin - What Went Wrong? - KOAM TV 7

The Columbia Elementary Safe Room In Joplin - What Went Wrong? And What's Next?

Updated:
JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

    The safe room at Columbia Elementary still sits - unused, as a safe room, it is however, functioning, as the school's gymnasium.
   The issues with the safe room go back as far as 2013, before it was even constructed.

 Following the May 22nd tornado, Joplin Schools used FEMA and SEMA money, coupled with funding from the Community Disaster Block Grant, or CDBG, to build safe rooms at it's campuses that were up to FEMA codes.
When it came to Columbia Elementary, on West F Street, mining was a concern.
So, Anderson Engineering, the firm at the time of construction, picked a site, which then turned out to be undermined.
John Snider, Anderson Engineering: "We did some more research and we found out that the underground mine in that area was generally on the east side so we tried to stay as far away from that mine as we could."
So they moved to the southwest corner of the property.
Dr. Kerry Sachetta, Joplin Schools: "I don't believe anybody thought that there was mining under that side of the property."
According to John Snider, one of the Geo-technical Engineers, the standard drilling depth to ensure the ground is stable on a site is 20 feet.
But, they wanted to be sure the site was safe.
Snider: "We doubled that we went to 40 feet, in some locations, just so we could have an idea, and then all the soil conditions that we found in the tests we did showed this is a pretty good site."
After the building was constructed, it began to settle, and is now unusable as a safe room.
The cause: the maps used to determine the site of mines at Columbia, were dated, and not 100% accurate.
Snider: "This is one of the risks of having things that you can't see that are not mapped that are not mined."
The district recently approved a $21,000 change order to continue investigations at the site to determine what can be done.
Sachetta: "That's what the whole process is right now is to really get a good report and be very precise on what they need to do and where it needs to be sitting."
Dr. Sachetta says returning the building to use as a safe room isn't an "if", it's a how.
And that could still take several more months before it can be used as protection from a tornado.
Sachetta: "Everybody's best foot was forward, and we've got a situation that's one of those things that's unforeseen."
    Dr. Sachetta tells us Columbia has a basement, which has been the school's "safe area" and will continue to serve that role until the safe room is ready.
    He wants to reassure parents the basement at Columbia is safe should severe weather threaten.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the KOAM Weather App for iOS and Android:

MORE TOP NEWS

Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

Follow Chris:
On Facebook
On Twitter

Contact Chris:
417.624.0233 or 620.231.0400
cwarner@koamtv.com

  • Chris WarnerMore>>

  • Snow Producing Another Traffic Hazard

    Snow Producing Another Traffic Hazard

    Monday, November 12 2018 8:55 PM EST2018-11-13 01:55:25 GMT
        When it comes to saving money, energy efficiency is one of the first things on the list.  But that conversion for traffic signals...has an unexpected, winter side effect.  About ten years ago the City of Joplin joined the trend of replacing the old-style incandescent traffic lights with LED's. David Hertzberg, Joplin Public Works Director: "The LED lights save 80% of the energy and they're a good sustainable and safe system."     E...More >>
        When it comes to saving money, energy efficiency is one of the first things on the list.  But that conversion for traffic signals...has an unexpected, winter side effect.  About ten years ago the City of Joplin joined the trend of replacing the old-style incandescent traffic lights with LED's. David Hertzberg, Joplin Public Works Director: "The LED lights save 80% of the energy and they're a good sustainable and safe system."     E...More >>
  • Lamar Police Department Stops Taking Cats

    Lamar Police Department Stops Taking Cats

    Wednesday, November 7 2018 10:08 PM EST2018-11-08 03:08:38 GMT

        The Lamar Police Department, which doubles as the animal shelter for strays, can no longer take in cats.     We went to find out why... Rusty Rives, Lamar Police Chief: "So whenever they came in and did the inspection, last month, they gave us a report back, to say if we're in compliance or if we're not, and what we found, our kennels, specifically for our cats are not in compliance, due to height restrictions for those animals."

    More >>

        The Lamar Police Department, which doubles as the animal shelter for strays, can no longer take in cats.     We went to find out why... Rusty Rives, Lamar Police Chief: "So whenever they came in and did the inspection, last month, they gave us a report back, to say if we're in compliance or if we're not, and what we found, our kennels, specifically for our cats are not in compliance, due to height restrictions for those animals."

    More >>
  • Flute Circle Meeting In Joplin

    Flute Circle Meeting In Joplin

    Sunday, November 4 2018 8:35 PM EST2018-11-05 01:35:26 GMT
         Over in Joplin today, a monthly meeting of flute players.  But these flute players are part of a special group, the Joplin Native American Flute Circle.  Organizers say it's a great way to bring unity and unique ideas together for beginners and experienced musicians alike. Gordan Keyler, Flute Player: "There is something about the music, the ancient music it touches something deep within people its relaxing its peaceful and its an instrument an...More >>
         Over in Joplin today, a monthly meeting of flute players.  But these flute players are part of a special group, the Joplin Native American Flute Circle.  Organizers say it's a great way to bring unity and unique ideas together for beginners and experienced musicians alike. Gordan Keyler, Flute Player: "There is something about the music, the ancient music it touches something deep within people its relaxing its peaceful and its an instrument an...More >>
Powered by Frankly

KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas
Send tips, ideas and press releases to: tips@koamtv.com
Send newsroom questions or comments to: comments@koamtv.com
Phone: (417) 624-0233 or (620) 231-0400
Web comments or questions: webmaster@koamtv.com
Newsroom Fax: (417) 624-3158

Powered by Frankly, Inc. All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOAM. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.