An engineer with a Springfield firm told the Neosho R-5 School Board Monday the district has “a good chance” of getting approval for a 13,769-square-foot tornado shelter at the high school campus.
Brian M. Orr, a public engineer with Toth & Associates Inc. of Springfield, updated the school board on the status of getting a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to build the tornado shelter, which would be located next to Neosho High School, perhaps across Hill Street on the upper parking lot of the high school stadium. The shelter would house about 2,200 people and is estimated to cost $2.6 million, with $1.9 million coming from federal funds, Orr said.
“It will be designed to withstand an F-5 tornado with winds up to 250 miles an hour,” Orr said. “The tornado that hit Joplin had winds of 200 miles an hour.”
Orr said locally, East Newton and Jasper are currently looking at safe room sites, and had geotechnical engineers on site. While in the area, workers with the Springfield, Mo., branch of Terracon Geotechnical Services were on site Thursday and bored two holes. One went 20-feet and didn’t hit rock. A second bore found rock 24-feet down. Dr. Richard Page, superintendent of the Neosho R-5 School District, said the findings didn’t prevent the district from building in that location, but did mean the cost of excavating would have to be included in the grant.
Neosho has had an application in for a safe room since last year but was not approved in that round.
“I’d be really surprised if you didn’t get funded [this year],” Orr said.
Once a safe room is funded and district officials go to Jefferson City to sign off on the grant, the district has 30 months to complete the work. The first hurdle is to get the project’s design approved within the first six months after the grant is approved.
In other business, the board:
Heard a report from Alma Stipp, assistant superintendent of curriculum, on student assessment;
Heard a report from Jim Cummins, assistant superintendent of business and finance, and Newton County Presiding Judge Tim Perigo on a student drug court program. More on the program will be in an upcoming issue of the Daily News;
Approved purchasing eight school buses from Central States for a total cost of $499,922. The price includes $230,750 in trade-ins;
Approved bus tire bids from Ozarko Tire and Cross Midwest Tire Company, both of Joplin;
Approved the resignations of Roseanna Dill and Brandy Walker, both of whom worked in food service at Neosho High School;
Agreed to hire the following personnel: Chelsea Carson, fourth grade teacher, Carver Elementary; Brenda Kimbrough, part time speech pathologist, Field Early Childhood Center; Carolyn Ritter, special ed paraprofessional, Field Early Childhood Center; Jonathan Stark, special ed paraprofessional, Central Elementary; Rachel Williams, special ed paraprofessional, South Elementary; Jamie Thorson, eighth grade girls assistant basketball coach, Neosho Junior High; Stephanie Miller, JV cheerleading assistant, Neosho High School; Brandon Smith, football coach / eighth grade girls basketball coach.
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More on Monday’s meeting will be in Wednesday’s Neosho Daily News.