Millage Increase Proposal For School Storm Shelter Passes

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A millage increase proposal to help fund a storm shelter for the Prairie Grove School District was approved by voters in Tuesday’s election.

A proposal to increase property taxes for the plan passed 522 votes (62 percent) to 316 (38 percent), according to the Washington County Election Commission.

A FEMA Safe Room was in the proposed plans for a new K-4 campus in Prairie Grove. The construction would include the addition of 40,728 square feet to the Intermediate School to create the K-4 Campus.

School District Superintendent Allen Williams said a storm shelter is needed since the district nor the city has any.

“There solid concrete walls and reinforced constructed and they are designed to take a direct if there was a tornado,” said Williams.

The district also received a $940,000 FEMA grant and state partnership money to build the storm shelter.

The shelter would also be used for many things including a multi-purpose room for physical education classes.

The storm shelter would also benefit the community as the district is working with the city to make it open to the public when there is a threat of severe weather.

“We don`t know the details of that yet, but in communities that have done it, they usually get with the city, police department. Sometimes you can have those doors be able to be open remotely,” said Williams.

The safe room will hold around 800 people.

In addition to the safe room, the mill increase would pay for other district needs, including construction of a new 42,160 square foot high school varsity gym and construction, refurbishing, remodeling, and equipping other school facilities.

If approved by voters, construction would begin spring of 2014 and completed by August 2015.

If voters approve the 6 mill increase, the millage rate will be 42.9 mills.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an extra $120 a year, averaging out to $10 a month.