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Nixa Voters Asked to Help Pay for FEMA Safe Rooms

NIXA. Mo. -- School districts are asking for no-tax-levy-increase bond issue money to pay for upgrades and improvements. Several of those schools are making FEMA safe rooms a big part of their plans.
NIXA. Mo. -- School districts are asking for no-tax-levy-increase bond issue money to pay for upgrades and improvements.
Several of those schools are making FEMA safe rooms a big part of their plans.

Two of them are proposed in Nixa, where the planned  rooms would more-than-double the area's current safe room capacity.
Voters will consider the local share of the costs on the April 8 ballot.

"Safety is a big concern after what happened in Joplin."
Parents like Jenny Gonzales say adding safe rooms to more area schools is a good way to use tax dollars , for students and the rest of the community.
"A lot of these older homes don't have basements for people to go into."

Her sons' schools already have recently-built FEMA shelters.
So she's in support of one planned for the high school and one more here at Nixa Junior High.
"My oldest son will be here. It feels safe to have your kids here in the day during the storm season."

"We're trying to pull them more on the east side of town and make sure we have as much of the district covered as possible," explains Zac Rantz, spokesman for
Nixa Public Schools.

A no-tax-levy-increase bond issue set for an April 8th vote would cover the district's share of the cost -- plus other renovations throughout the grounds.
The new rooms will hold 2,000 people each. So if it passes, that would bring Nixa's available safe room capacity to 7,000 people.
"There's the hardening or the connection with the roof onto the walls."

Officials say the FEMA standards are tools that allow an otherwise average gymnasium to run defense on a severe storm.
"They should be able to withstand the debris and the wind load and all of the effects of an EF5 tornado," notes Ryan Nicholls, director of the Springfield-Greene County
Office of Emergency Management.

"Our FEMA safe rooms open when a tornado watch happens it allows more people to get there before a storm happens and have a secure place to go," says Rantz.

Grant money from the federal government would take care of 75 percent of the cost for these new FEMA safe rooms.
 
School districts are responsible for the remaining 25 percent, which is the amount included in these bond issues.


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