City of Little Rock buying two tornado "safe rooms" | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

City of Little Rock buying two tornado "safe rooms"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 10:32 AM

SAFE ROOM: This is one of many modular safe rooms offered for sale by a variety of manufacturers. The city plans to install larger ones at two community centers. - SECURALL BUILDINGS
  • Securall Buildings
  • SAFE ROOM: This is one of many modular safe rooms offered for sale by a variety of manufacturers. The city plans to install larger ones at two community centers.
The city of Little Rock has provided some more information about a recent legal ad asking for bids on "safe rooms."

The joker who wondered if this was a city hall protective device against unhappy citizens, was off base. It's to build tornado shelters at two locations — the Dunbar and Ottenheimer community centers.

Matt Burks said by e-mail:

The tornado safe rooms will be at the Dunbar Community Center and the Ottenheimer Therapeutic Recreation Center. This project was initiated by myself and approved by the City Manager. As the Emergency Management Administrator for the City of Little Rock, my duties include looking at ways to mitigate the impacts of disasters on our community. The locations for the safe rooms were chosen because they both provide youth services to vulnerable populations in Little Rock. These safe rooms will provide those utilizing these facilities a safe refuge during severe weather. The funding for the project is a 75% Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant through FEMA and a 25% local cost share and is expected to cost approximately $120,000.
The bid specs say the modular rooms must be able to withstand winds of 250 mp. They call for rooms sufficient to shelter 96 people at Dunbar and 64 at Ottenheimer. They'll be prefabricated steel structures placed on concrete slabs on bases 60 by 10 feet at Dunbar and 40 by 10 feet at Ottenheimer. They must be ADA accessible and have a backup power supply.

I  wondered about the rest of the city.

Lamor Williams, a city spokesman responded :

With limited funding available (these federal funds are competitive across the state), a building block approach is being used to install tornado safe rooms at City facilities. As Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant funds become available, we will continue to identify City facilities for tornado safe rooms that best meet the goal of protecting vulnerable populations from severe weather threats.
These two are the first at a city facility.

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