Gov. Jay Nixon announced the Plato School District was one of five applicants approved for a tornado shelter.

Plato Elementary School will receive funding for one of five severe weather shelters at schools across Missouri.

Gov. Jay Nixon  said Monday he has authorized the State Emergency Management Agency to proceed with proposals for five tornado safe rooms at schools in Lincoln, St. Charles, Stoddard, Texas and Webster counties. The proposed 4,600 square foot safe room at the Plato R-V School District would shelter about 700 people.

“Missouri’s children are our most precious and important resource, and ensuring that they not only receive a good education, but that they are safe and secure in their schools should be our top priority,” Nixon said. “We have seen too often the devastation that tornadoes and severe weather can bring to communities in Missouri and neighboring states, and that’s why I’m committed to utilizing available funding wherever possible to help build community safe rooms, particularly in our schools.”

Missouri has 104 completed safe rooms across the state. Since Nixon took office, he has approved or Missouri has moved forward with 188 community safe room projects, 121 of which are in schools, utilizing Federal Emergency Management Agency hazard mitigation grant funds. In all, the completed projects and those being designed and constructed in the state would be capable of protecting more than 210,000 Missourians.

The FEMA program provides 75 percent of funding for pre-approved safe room projects that meet all design and construction standards. Local grant recipients pay the remaining 25 percent of safe room costs. In Texas County, shelters are situated at Houston and Licking. Two are being built — one at TCMH and other at the Cabool School District.

The federal share of the projects the governor announced is approximately $5.7 million. Local applicants still must meet all federal program requirements.

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