Officials at Children’s Home Youth Farm have cut the ribbon on a new storm shelter.
“We wanted a safe place for the kids to be able to get out of inclement weather, like tornadoes,” said Mike Gabbert, director of facilities for the Children’s Home Association.
“We were always worried about it, always trying to figure out some way to make this happen,” Gabbert said. “Especially after the tornadoes in Washington, we knew we had to make it happen.”
The shelter is in the lower floor of a two-level building.
“The floor (of the upper level) is ten-inch concrete with steel rebar,” Gabbert said. “The walls are poured concrete with steel rebar. We have Federal Emergency Management Agency-rated doors downstairs with four locks on the doors with dual entry.”
“It’s going to take something big to do anything, even to take off the top layer.”
Gabbert says the new shelter is much safer for clients and staff than what had been done in the past to protect them from storms.
“We would all go to the administration building down into the kitchen,” Gabbert said. “It’s a block structure but kind of wide open with a lot of glass. There could have been a lot of flying debris.”
The $350,000 structure was funded through donations.
There are currently 50 clients and 20-to-25 staff members at Children’s Home Youth Farm.