School Construction Changes After Storms


The Strunks said they are pleased that schools now are more conscious of providing safe places for students.

Enterprise, like most schools in the state, was mostly a collection of older buildings constructed in stages.

The EF4 tornado collapsed parts of the school’s science wing, the hallway where Katie and Kathy Strunk were and a new gym.

Dirk Strunk, a teacher and head football coach at Priceville, will move to the new Priceville High planned to open in 2015.

“We will have a storm shelter in this school,” Morgan County Superintendent Billy Hopkins said.

Because they are not totally new schools, the facility at Hatton and a cafeteria planned in Moulton were not required to have storm shelters.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said he “re-thought” the projects after an EF5 tornado killed 14 in Lawrence County on April 27, 2011.

The system acquired two hazardous mitigation grants to help put storm shelters in both facilities.

The board received $1.5 million from FEMA to help cover the $2.4 million project at Hatton that includes four classrooms, a special education room, science lab and administrative offices.

The shelter is a hallway in the middle of the school that will be surrounded by steel- and concrete-reinforced blocks.

In Moulton, the board is constructing a cafeteria that will serve middle and elementary students.

FEMA is providing a $1.24 million grant for the project, estimated to cost $2.3 million. The old Hatton school was constructed in 1936 and the two block lunchrooms in Moulton are more than 50 years old.

“We were fortunate that all our kids were home on April 27, but you never know when that day will come that we can’t get them home,” Grimes said.

That situation happened in Oklahoma on May 20 when an EF5 tornado reduced Plaza Towers Elementary School to a 10-foot pile of rubble.

The tornado, which carved a 17-mile path, killed 24, including seven students in the school.

The tornado that hit Enterprise was the first to kill students at a school since 1990. The city rebuilt a $86 million school equipped with FEMA-rated storm shelters.

The mandate for storm shelters in new schools became law in 2010, about six months after Hartselle broke ground on its new high school. It was effective immediately, which meant Hartselle had to include storm shelters.

“The new law is a good thing,” Moore said.

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Posted by on Jul 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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