CARDWELL, MO (KAIT) - While many school districts have adequate tornado shelters on-campus, the Southland School District is home to the only FEMA-approved safe room in the Missouri Boot heel.
Superintendent Kim Campbell says not only does the safe room meet their needs, but it also provides extra space for classrooms.
"It'll house all of our population as far as, we have currently about 388 students, and I think it can take up to 500 approximately."
The safe room was finished in 2006, the same year that a major severe weather outbreak spawned a 3/4 mile-wide, F-3 tornado that packed winds up to 200 mph.
The twister carved a path of destruction just a few miles north of Cardwell, Missouri.
That's why Campbell says the school district is taking no chances when it comes to severe weather.
"If we have something happen during school time, the kids are going to be safe."
In both Arkansas and Missouri, to be considered a FEMA-approved tornado safe room, it must endure peak wind speeds of 250 mph and also withstand flying debris traveling up to 100 mph.
"We reinforced the ceiling, the flooring, and the walls to meet FEMA standards."
Campbell adds that their severe weather protocol is effective, as they have tornado drills each semester.
The students know what to do, but improvements are in the works to keep kids safe.
"We've talked about and got some quotes on an intercom system that'll be campus-wide that will assist us greatly and move things along a little bit faster. That probably, a good chance we may get that put in this summer."
And the school board is discussing plans to make the safe room open to the community in times of emergency.