What a great week it's been in Wildcat Country!

What a great week it's been in Wildcat Country!

As I began to look ahead and try to develop a "to do" list, I was happy to see all of the hard work that has already been completed on the FEMA shelter projects in the district. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with the community the latest information we have concerning these shelters and the possible timeline we are looking at toward completion.

The district is currently at the point of sending in formal plans to FEMA for approval on the safe room plans for the high school and South Elementary. The current plans are for an 18-classroom addition on the front of the high school, and a gymnasium facility with a stage and bleacher seating for 250 people on the South Elementary campus. These projects will not only give the district safe rooms on these campuses, but will also provide the district with some much needed room.

The district has approved the budgets as well as designs for both buildings and the architects expect to send completed plans for approval the first week of August. FEMA then has up to six months to approve or send the plans back for revisions. During this time, the district will finalize plans for a safe room facility on the Carver Elementary campus that will then be sent in to FEMA for approval. We hope to be able to have these plans finalized as soon as possible because FEMA will also have six months to either approve them or send them back for revision.

We are currently still waiting to hear if the district has approval to move forward on projects at the other campuses and are not certain when that decision will be made. Depending on when the district receives approval from FEMA, there will be a 30 to 60 day bid window and an 8-12 month anticipated construction window. FEMA will allow us until July of 2015 to meet final completion on the three projects which have been approved for development and the architects expect to be able to meet that deadline and depending on the plan approval date could be done as early as December 2014.

One thing I have been able to see since being on the job the short time I have is the focus and commitment of the board and administration in providing as safe an environment as possible for the students of the Neosho R-5 School District. I look forward to the partnership we will develop as a school and community in working together as we move forward in providing the best possible education including facilities for our students. Also, I would like to thank Tim Crawley, assistant superintendent of finance/operations, for the information he provided me with for this article. Have a great week!

Dan Decker is superintendent of the Neosho R-5 School District.