School breaks ground on new safe room

Lake Mills Safe Room Construction

LAKE MILLS, Iowa – The Lake Mills Community School is breaking ground on a very important project.

“I graduated from Parkersburg High School and there was a terrible tornado there.”

Lake Mills Community Schools superintendent, Daryl Sherman knows exactly how devastating a tornado can be.

He said, “It was very strange to go back and see the high school destroyed and then of course the town didn’t look anything like when I graduated from there.”

The devastation in Parkersburg coupled with recent tornado’s in Oklahoma last spring were reminders that this school needed its own safe room.

Sherman said, “This project is about 6,000 – closer to 7,000 square feet with the connecting hallway and it’ll hold 905 students.”

Crews are hard at work now constructing the $1.4 million shelter that will be able to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour.

High school junior, Mary Evans says the room will be a huge step up from the safe areas they have now.

Evans said, “We usually just go down to the locker room for safety for high school and the elementary, I’m not sure where they go anymore.”

Having the new facility means now it’ll be crystal clear where everyone is supposed to go in an emergency. Mary says though she’s not too scared of tornado’s, she’ll definitely feel safer once the shelter is complete.

“It’ll be a lot better to have a different structure to help. I felt safe before, but this is just another thing that’s nice to have.”

Superintendent Sherman is excited to see the project finally breaking ground after a nearly 2 year process of filling out FEMA and Homeland Security applications.

He said, “It was a lot of paper work and writing this grant process. It was about 200 pages in information they needed, but it was well worth it.”

And though the risk for tornado’s is this area isn’t very high, it’s just one way to continue making student safety a top priority.

Sherman said, “Tornados have a lot of destructive power, so that’s what we want to avoid here is any injuries or fatalities.”

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