ACS gets grant for safe room

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Come next year, parents of Andalusia City Schools can breathe a little easier when they send their children to school, officials announced Tuesday.

Superintendent Ted Watson said the school system was notified Monday that it received a FEMA grant for a safe room at the new Andalusia Junior High School, which is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

Watson said the grant provides funding for 75 percent of the hardening of walls, or $327,000.

“We are incorporating the hardening into the walls at the school,” Watson said. “We were going to have to put up walls anyway. These are just safer. I expect our cost to be pretty much a wash.”

Watson said the safe room will be placed at the high school area because the facility is an older, two-story campus.

Watson said weeks like this one with the tragedy of a tornado that leveled an Oklahoma City suburb, are a reminder of why it’s important for the children of Andalusia to have a safe room.

On Tuesday, an EF4 tornado killed 24 people, including nine children and destroyed two elementary schools in Moore, Okla.

“For obvious reasons, my heart goes out to the people of Oklahoma,” he said. “I’m sure the devastation they are feeling is hard. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that this is what we need to do. The safety of our kids is crucial, and we want to make sure that we go down every avenue to ensure this.”