Safe room in the works for Marmaduke School District

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) -- Just minutes after Chief Meteorologist Ryan Vaughan warned that a dangerous tornado was heading straight towards Marmaduke--it hit.  The town, and its residents were battered but not broken. Their school that sustained so much damage almost three years ago--is better than ever.

"There had been some plans made to make some additional additions to the elementary and high school which we have followed through over the last year," said Marmaduke Superintendent, Tim Gardner.

Another project the district is working on is building a safe room on the schools campus. A place to seek shelter in the event of severe weather. A plot of land has already been set aside.

"Hopefully, possibly we'll get construction going on it as soon as sometime next school year," said Gardner.

If the safe room has to be used during school hours, kids and school staff members will be sent in first. Then, if there's room, community members can use it. However, school officials say that if the safe room has to be used during non school hours, it's open to the whole community.

School officials say the safe room should hold about 900 people.  The safe room comes with a hefty price tag. While FEMA will fund the majority, and the state will help too, the district will have to pay 300 thousand dollars.

"I'm positive that within the next few months we'll be trying to do some fundraising activities and try to raise as much money as possible and try to take some of the cost off the district. We want to go ahead with the project because we feel like it is a real need for not only the school, but the community," said Gardner.