A group held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mayflower Elementary School storm shelter on Monday.
Robert Moser from Moser Construction, Randy Palculict from Jackson, Brown and Palculict, FEMA Grant Consultant Huge Burge, board president Sherilee Holland, Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland, superintendent John Gray and more were present for the moment.
The Mayflower School Board originally approved a bid for nearly $1.2 million from Moser Construction Inc. for the storm shelter during a special meeting in January.
Gray said the total bid came to $1,309,575, including the FEMA grant for $553,000; a contribution from United Way of Faulkner County for $10,000; state funding through Rep. Douglas House for $70,000; $5,000 from the Rainbow Foundation; and $2,600 in general donations, with the balance being paid through the school district building fund.
"Everybody’s really excited about it," Gray said. "[They’re] looking forward to it."
He said the shelter is a part of the district’s 20-year plan, but tornadoes in recent years have shifted the room’s ability to be built.
Now, Gray said, they are on track — the pre-structured, pre-fabricated building will go up in July and the whole project should be done by late August — and ready to have the shelter at the school.
With around 3,000 square feet, the shelter has the capacity to fit around 450 people inside, the number of occupants currently at the elementary school.
Gray said so far they haven’t faced any challenges. Between the contractors, the staff and others, they worked through any issues they may have had.
"We planned the location pretty well," he said.
Going forward, Gray said, they will just have to be careful and work around any problems that may arise.
"We’re very proud [we were] able to do it … looking forward to getting it done for the safety of our kids," he said.