Marmaduke schools not taking storm threat lightly - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Marmaduke schools not taking storm threat lightly

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) -

Marmaduke School District did not take Tuesday’s severe weather threat lightly.

Most of the community remembers 11 years ago when a category EF4 tornado ripped through the small town, leaving behind destruction.

On Tuesday, students filed into the school’s concrete safe room, one by one as a drill. It is something they did not have in 2006.

“One of the first things we did after the tornado hit was, we started the process of getting this facility,” Tim Gardner, the superintendent said. “It holds up to 850 people.”

Gardner said the entire district fits into the building. He said, after practicing tornado drills religiously, students know exactly where to go.

Blue lines on the concrete separate each grade by class.

Gardner said it takes six minutes for the entire district to get into the safe room when a warning hits.

One student who was two when the tornado hit remembers seeing her house turned to rubble.

“Pieces of my house were everywhere,” Katelynn Newell said. “My sister and my blanket got taken away and then we found Gunner's and it was torn up to shreds. One of Destiny's baby blankets actually survived the tornado.”

For Newell, the school’s safe room reassures her she will be okay.

“Having to deal with that was the scariest thing,” she said. “It's a good thing our school and community actually have this.”

The safe room is also available to the community after 6:30 p.m. Gardner said the doors are open through the early-morning hours. 

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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