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School district seeks FEMA funds for tornado shelters

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 8:24 am

District seeks to build shelters at Bowling Green, Frankford school campuses

By Ethan Colbert

The Bowling Green R-I School District is hoping that the federal government will help
pick up the tab and assist the local school district in constructing a tornado shelter at both
the Bowling Green and Frankford school campuses.
The Bowling Green R-I Board of Education voted unanimously last week to submit a Notice
of Interest to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which helps school districts finance
the construction of the tornado shelters.
According to Bowling Green R-I Superintendent Dr. Matthew Frederickson, the
district anticipates submitting its application to FEMA by April 1, 2018. To help prepare the
district’s application, the school district engaged Springfield-based firm, Paragon
Architecture, to develop site plans for the potential storm shelters.
The district hopes to hear a response from FEMA by July 1.
“If we don’t receive funding from FEMA this year, then we will continue to apply each year
until we receive the funding we have requested,” Frederickson said in a telephone
interview. According to documents available on the district’s website, the school district is seeking 75-percent of the total  cost of the project, or $2,977,941.18, from FEMA for the construction of a 15,000 square foot facility on the Bowling Green campus. If funds are received from FEMA, the school district will pay for the remaining 25-percent, or $992,647.06.
According to Frederickson, he anticipates that the school district would have the
storm shelter be designed as a performing arts center. “I could see us taking a theater type
approach, similar to that of the Troy School District,” Frederickson said. According to the
architects, the most logical plan to build the facility is on the grassy lot near Business Hwy. 61 and which is frequently used as a practice field for the middle school football teams.
“They looked at several places on our campus,” Frederickson said. Other potential sites
were evaluated but were ruled out as being too costly or are prone to flash flooding.
The school superintendent said he anticipates that should the storm shelter be
constructed as a performing arts center that it would have its own parking lot and access to
Business Hwy. 61

The school district is also seeking $568,235.29 from FEMA for the storm shelter at the Frankford Elementary School campus. If FEMA funds the project, the local school district will pay $189,411.76 for the 2,300 square foot facility in Frankford.
According to Frederickson, the Frankford facility would create new classroom space for the growing student body.
“Right now, we are doing a lot of teaching in the hallways, especially for things like Title I and other one-on-one teaching opportunities,” Frederickson said. Currently, there are more than 100 students enrolled at the Frankford Elementary campus. “We also need a dedicated space for both art and music courses at Frankford.”
In his telephone interview, Frederickson said he remained optimistic that the local school district would receive the necessary funds from FEMA.
“I am fairly hopeful, because there is not a place like this in our area,” Frederickson said. “This all relies on the money being available. So, if the money is available, then I am very confident that other people will see the need for these facilities and will help us fund them.”
In other news, the local school board also voted to purchase new uniforms for the Bowling Green High School football team. The board voted to accept the bid from supplier, BSN Sports of Festus. The uniforms are expected to cost the school district $7,702, and were discounted as half-price.
The school board also voted to approve the purchase of new uniforms for the school’s marching band at the cost of $40,900.30. The school board voted to cover half of the costs associated with the uniforms. The school’s Music Boosters will pay the remaining difference. Ultimately, the board of education voted to purchase the uniforms from DeMoulin Brothers and Company, of Greenville, Ill.

In his telephone interview, Frederickson said that the board felt they were justified in purchasing the new band uniforms after the current uniforms had begun to show signs of age.
“It is important to remember that in competitions our marching band is judged not only in their music and their marching abilities, but also in general affect,” Frederickson said. “The Music Boosters have taken very good care of the current uniforms, but it is time for them to be replaced.”

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