The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 21, 2013

MSSU secures FEMA grant for tornado shelter

By Ryan Richardson

— Missouri Southern State University officials announced this week that the school will receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency toward construction of a $1.6 million tornado safe room on the Joplin campus.

The school noted it will receive $64,500 from FEMA for the design phase of an 11,000-square-foot safe room. MSSU will pay 25 percent, or $21,500, of the design-phase cost.

Jeff Gibson, MSSU director of budget and operations, said the school has attempted to secure the funds since the summer of 2011.

“After the tornado, we were very interested in getting this project going for the school,” Gibson said. “We are pleased that we are approved through the design phase and once that is completed, we can move onto construction.”

In the construction phase, the school will be responsible for an additional $373,250 to construct the project in 21 months, with FEMA providing  $1,119,750. Gibson said that the local share of the cost will come from the school’s reserve fund.

“This is the kind of project that the fund is for,” Gibson said. “We do not plan on securing any donations of fundraising for this project.”

The total cost to the school will be $394,750.

Much like the planned safe room for Crowder College’s Webb City location, the grant will provide for the building, but the school will be responsible for how the building is used on a day-to-day basis.

“We will probably use it as a multipurpose room for possibly for organizational meetings,” Gibson said.


Gibson said that the school is evaluating campus locations for the safe room, including a site near the residence halls.