U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker along with Congressman Gregg Harper announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has approved $1.54 million award to Oktibbeha County to build a domed multipurpose facility and safe room in Starkville.
“Oktibbeha County and FEMA will construct this facility to provide new options for staying safe during severe weather,” said Cochran. “I’m pleased this funding has been awarded to help make the community better prepared for emergency situations.”
FEMA is providing funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to construct Phase II of the Oktibbeha County Safe Room at 607 Lynn Lane in Starkville.
“I’m thankful the people of Starkville and Oktibbeha County will soon have a safe place to seek shelter,”said Wicker. “Storm shelters are essential to ensuring students, faculty, staff, and citizens are protected from Mississippi’s unpredictable and often dangerous weather.”
The 8,756-square-foot monolithic dome facility will be designed to have 7,910 square feet of usable space to serve almost 1,600 students, staff and residents.
“With the recent storms and severe weather that devastated many communities across our nation, the need for storm shelters is more apparent than ever,” said Harper. “The funding and construction of this multi-purpose safe-room will greatly increase severe weather protections for the people of Starkville and Oktibbeha County.”
Combined with $242,802 in Phase I design and engineering funding that was awarded in December of 2014, FEMA is making $1.79 million available overall for this project, which will cost $2.04 million to complete.
FEMA’s contribution amounts to 87 percent of the overall cost, with the remainder to be funded with non-federal resources.
The safe room will be built to FEMA 361 standards to withstand winds up to 250 mph. These standards allows short-term protection for the public during severe weather situations. The facility would also be available for community meetings and events.
Oktibbeha County will operate and maintain the dome facility by providing for construction and maintenance.