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Latham school building weather safe room

A school destroyed by a fire two years ago is rebuilding and adding some extra safety at the same time.

The Latham R-5 School was rebuilt after a 2010 fire and now a safe room is under construction to keep students, faculty and residents safe from deadly storms or tornadoes.

The new construction is costing the school nearly $200,000.

On Wednesday, just a skeleton of what will be Latham’s safe room is visible. However, in three months, the solid concrete building will be complete and able to withstand up to 250 mph winds.

School officials say it’s a weight off their shoulders knowing there will be another option if bad weather hits.

Currently, the bathrooms are the only place to provide shelter if a tornado hit the new school.

During tornado drills, it’s a struggle to fit 61 students into the school’s bathrooms.

This new shelter gives students, teachers and people within a half-mile radius a safe alternative.

“If you pay attention to the recent tornadoes that schools have had and they had to do the same thing and we’ve seen what they have done and the devastation and lives lost and we’re in the same situation,” Jeannie Imhoff, Latham R-5 School counselor said.

School officials said the safe room will double as a multipurpose room for the school and community.

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