The tornado safe rooms will be at the Dunbar Community Center and the Ottenheimer Therapeutic Recreation Center. This project was initiated by myself and approved by the City Manager. As the Emergency Management Administrator for the City of Little Rock, my duties include looking at ways to mitigate the impacts of disasters on our community. The locations for the safe rooms were chosen because they both provide youth services to vulnerable populations in Little Rock. These safe rooms will provide those utilizing these facilities a safe refuge during severe weather. The funding for the project is a 75% Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant through FEMA and a 25% local cost share and is expected to cost approximately $120,000.The bid specs say the modular rooms must be able to withstand winds of 250 mp. They call for rooms sufficient to shelter 96 people at Dunbar and 64 at Ottenheimer. They'll be prefabricated steel structures placed on concrete slabs on bases 60 by 10 feet at Dunbar and 40 by 10 feet at Ottenheimer. They must be ADA accessible and have a backup power supply.
With limited funding available (these federal funds are competitive across the state), a building block approach is being used to install tornado safe rooms at City facilities. As Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant funds become available, we will continue to identify City facilities for tornado safe rooms that best meet the goal of protecting vulnerable populations from severe weather threats.These two are the first at a city facility.