Wichita school on track to get storm shelter pending funds from FEMA

04/15/2014 5:20 PM

04/15/2014 5:22 PM

Another Wichita school will get a storm shelter by August if funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency come through as expected, district officials said.

The Wichita school board on Monday unanimously approved spending $734,000 to build a storm shelter at the Chester I. Lewis Academic Learning Center, 1847 N. Chautauqua, the former site of Northeast Magnet High School. The school currently houses Metro-Boulevard Alternative High School.

The shelter, which will accommodate 350 people, will be built on the south side of the building. Construction Services Bryant Inc. was the low bidder.

The district was approved for FEMA funding when the building housed Northeast Magnet. The shell of the safe room must be completed by Aug. 15 in order to meet a FEMA deadline for funding, officials said.

“That’s kind of scary to me. … If there is a delay, then we actually could lose this,” board member Betty Arnold said Monday.

“We will start as quickly as we get final word from FEMA,” said Ken Arnold of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, the district’s bond manager. “If they say go … the contractor will get the project completed.”

After the shelter is built, the district plans to move an early childhood screening program from Little Early Childhood Center to the Lewis building.

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