Safe Room


The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton recently broken ground on a brand new 329 square-foot safe room. The project, which has been approved by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has now officially begun construction after many months of planning and preparation.

The safe room is being constructed to provide emergency shelter for the children of the Earle Love Child Care Center as well as other students and faculty within a five minute radius around the building from the devastating impact of a tornado. Most people know that Arkansas is a part of “Tornado Alley,” which is the name given to a large section of the country that has an extremely high risk of tornado activity. What people may not know is that Arkansas has more tornadoes that are a size F3 or higher than all but three other states. F3 tornadoes have winds of more than 160 MPH which are strong enough to tear the roofs off houses or even derail a train.

UACCM believes that this safe room will provide physical shelter from a tornado as well as promote a confident feeling of safety for the over 240 employees and countless students within range of the structure. The walls will be made of 12” reinforced CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit) set on top of reinforced concrete footings, which will provide protection from extreme winds, as well as any projectiles that could be propelled by the tornado. The building will have a storage area within the safe room for emergency supplies and emergency power for its lighting, communication, and ventilation systems. All work will be in compliance with ADA requirements for handicap accessibility.

FEMA has played a key part in the funding of the Safe Room. They had previously agreed to pay 75% of the original estimated construction costs earlier this year, but several unforeseen changes had to be made to the plans of the structure, which caused construction of the structure to be delayed until UACCM could re-apply for the additional funding from FEMA. UACCM broke ground on the Safe Room right after word was given that FEMA has agreed to provide the funds to pay the 75% of the new estimate, thanks to a bill recently signed by President Obama. The safe house contractor is Western Millwright Services, Inc. out of Russellville, and they will be working alongside the project’s engineering firm, Crafton Tull Sparks. If you would like more information, please contact UACCM Development Officer Kristi Strain at


Popular posts from this blog

Fillippino Named UACCM Dean of General Education

Beck Named Outstanding Alumni of the Year