TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – This weekend marks five years since an EF 3 tornado touched down in parts of Northeast Mississippi. The City of Tupelo took a direct hit and since then, the school district has had a goal to have a FEMA grade storm shelter at each campus. Construction is almost finished on what will be the largest shelter in the state, at Tupelo High School.
Each day, about 40 people are working on the FEMA approved Safe Room and Gym at Tupelo High School.
The FEMA grade storm shelter will be the largest of its kind in the entire state. Plans were developed for the shelter, and others throughout the district, after a tornado hit Tupelo April 28 2014. Principal Art Dobbs remembers where he was that day.
“I was actually an assistant principal here and we dismissed early that day and it still is in the back of my head,” Dobbs said.
Once it is opened, the dome shaped building will be able to provide safe shelter for all 24 hundred high school students, faculty and staff. The dome, and entire building are reinforced with rebar.
The six million dollar project was funded primarily through FEMA and MEMA grants. The building will also be used for sporting events such as basketball, volleyball, as well as band concerts and other community events.
“We’re just proud to have it on our campus, we are the biggest high school in the state and this reflects another plus for Tupelo High School and Tupelo Public School District,” said TPSD Athletic Director Dr. Eddie Moore.
The safe room and gym is set to open this summer.
The current gym at THS will continue to be used by the athletic department and also for other smaller events