Ready for storms at school - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ready for storms at school

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DAYTON, TN (WRCB) -

They're still working on the new wing of Dayton City School, the future home of its fourth and fifth graders. Principal Linda Abel is excited, saying it'll provide elbow room for the increasing student enrollment.

"We're just basically out of room," explains Abel. "We don't have another room, a closet, or anywhere to put anything."

After years of discussion and penny-pinching, the school district was able to save the $1.7 million needed and began construction in early August.

The central portion of the wing looks like a bunker. It'll primarily serve as a walkway for the maintenance crews to access the HVAC units. But after further inspection, school officials thought they could also use it as a storm shelter.

"Just as people kept looking at it. You know, you have to look up to actually see it and realize that it's very strong," says Abel.

The architect agreed.

There's plenty of steel and reinforced concrete. No design modifications were needed.

Although the National Weather Service database shows no direct tornado hits in the city of Dayton since records began in the 1870s, Abel says it could just be a matter of time. She's grateful to have an added layer of safety.

"Any level of safety and security that we can add, we're always so glad to do that," Abel emphasizes. "Parents really appreciate that and we do, too. We feel safe inside the building. We want the children to feel safe."

Fifth-grader Keegan McRorie appreciates it and probably speaks for the rest of his friends and classmates.

"It makes me feel safer and I know all the teachers want us to feel safe because that's their number one priority," says McRorie.

Having the double benefit of safety and extra space, Abel's getting a lot of bang for the buck.

"Yes. Excellent use of funds," adds Abel.

She says the project is going smoothly and hopes the students can move into the new wing in January.
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