Storm shelter coming to a local elementary school
MARION, Ill. - A federal grant to Lincoln Elementary School in Marion will help build a storm shelter that will be used by students, faculty and even community members.
When high winds and funnel clouds come ripping through the area, the children become the number one priority.
Thanks to federal dollars, a green space on the Lincoln campus will soon become a safe room.
Lincoln Elementary principal John Fletcher says the shelter will double as either a new cafeteria or a gym.
About 20 minutes down the road, Principal Kim Burns says Adams School in Creal Springs is already reaping the benefits of their safe room.
It came in handy during a basketball tournament back in October.
"Tornado sirens went off, we evacuated the gym, everybody came in here...worked like clock work," said Burns.
The ultra-tough room kept about 400 people safe that night.
Not only are the walls and ceiling all reinforced by steel, but there is an "iron curtain" that can withstand 250 mile an hour winds.
Fletcher says the grant is something he has been working on for six years.
"We could not afford to build that level of safety without some help," said Fletcher.
He says he will be able to rest a little easier during storm season knowing his students are safe.
The exact timeline of the project is still unclear as architects are still working with school administrators on developing a basic blueprint before construction.