Community saferoom on track to save lives and help students

By Joseph McCain

The Winston County Journal


The Louisville city leaders are on track to help save lives in future disasters as they have purchased property and are moving forward with a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Safe room in Louisville near Fair and Louisville Elementary on Columbus Street.

“This will provide a safe place for our citizens during any storm and will provide a gymnasium for the schools,” said Louisville Mayor Will Hill.

The Monolithic Dome safe room which will be large enough to hold over 2,000 residents during a major storm will also be available to the school and city for public and private events. The projected 12,000 foot structure is projected to cost around $3 million when completed and the city would be responsible for 10 percent of the cost with FEMA paying for 90 percent of the cost.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) specifications (FEMA P-361) for HMGP buildings is to meet standards for near-absolute protection from disaster.

“Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, the occupants of a safe room built in accordance with FEMA guidance will have a very high probability of being protected from injury or death.” — FEMA Safe Rooms website.

The City has partnered with the Louisville Municipal School District to provide the space to the district during school hours to Fair and Louisville Elementary students to use as a gymnasium.

The city anticipates moving into the construction phase before the end of 2017.