The Neosho R-5 School District met Tuesday evening to continue planning for three FEMA shelters, to be located at the Neosho High School, South Elementary and Carver Elementary.

The Neosho R-5 School District met Tuesday evening to continue planning for three FEMA shelters, to be located at the Neosho High School, South Elementary and Carver Elementary.

Tim Crawley, the district's director of operations, said the FEMA funding was officially awarded in December, and that the district has now also applied for FEMA shelters for the rest of the district campuses.

While the district has not heard back on those applications, board members, administrators and architects from Sapp Design and Associates are working to detail the plans for the three upcoming shelters.

"South Elementary is the one that we're probably farthest along on," Crawley said. "Everyone feels like a FEMA shelter on that campus would be best utilized as a gym."

He said the gymnasium would also have a stage at one end, and half of the facility cost would be paid out of FEMA funds.

The required square footage for the space is 6,072 square-feet, though Crawley said to accommodate the gymnasium, the plan is to increase that space to approximately 8,000 square feet.

The minimum local cost on the South shelter is $317,625, though Crawley said that only covers the basic facility, with nothing inside, so the cost is expected to run higher.

While Tuesday's planning session included the consideration of details within the South shelter, such as should the gymnasium floor be wooden or rubber, Crawley said plans on the high school and Carver shelters are in an earlier stage.
While each FEMA shelter will serve multiple purposes, Crawley said the school district is still working to determine the best use for the Carver Elementary FEMA shelter.

"Carver is fairly new and it's really hard to figure out, other than a shelter, what do we really want to put there," Crawley said.

He said one idea thrown out at Tuesday's work session was a proposal to use the FEMA shelter to house the Neosho Center for Intervention Supports, the district program created for students with autism.

Currently, the NCIS program is housed downstairs at the district's Jefferson Street Campus.

"It looks like that program will continue to grow," Crawley said of the newly created NCIS program.

He said the Carver FEMA shelter is planned to be 4,800 square feet, with a minimum local cost of $260,699.

While the exact location of the high school FEMA shelter is still up in the air, Crawley said discussions about how to use that shelter have focused mostly on band space and performing arts.

Crawley said the shelter's size would be approximately 13,000 square feet, with a $636,793 local match for the basic facility.

He said the district has encountered an obstacle in deciding where to place the shelter, due to the high school's proximity to a floodplain.

The two proposed locations for the high school shelter are in front of the school building or off of the atrium by the gymnasium.

However, Crawley said to locate the shelter off of the atrium the district would have to look into closing Hill Street.
He said the school district plans to approach the city with that proposition in the near future.

While there had been earlier talk of locating the FEMA shelter further from the building, across Hill Street, Crawley said the district prefers the shelter be closer to the existing high school building.

"The board really doesn't want the students to have to go out of the building," he said.

The school board opted last month not to seek a bond issue this April, and Crawley said all of the local funds needed for the FEMA shelters will come from fund four, the capital improvement fund.

He said based on the FEMA required timeline, the district has six months to plan the shelters, and an 18-month period for construction.

While the district is still in the early planning stages, Crawley said he hopes to see the shelters going up sooner than later.

"I'm hopeful that as soon as school is out we can start moving some dirt," Crawley said.