FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lawmakers announced a federal grant to help build two more safe rooms in Forrest County.
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Congressman Steven Palazzo announced Tuesday a $1.06 million grant awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help support construction projects at the Rawl Springs Attendance Center in Hattiesburg and Petal Upper Elementary in Petal.
The addition of the two new safe rooms would complete the goal of constructing 10 safe rooms at schools in the county.
“The projects announced today will be an important addition to Forrest County’s existing storm shelters,” Wicker said in a news release. “These structures will provide safe havens from inclement weather for years to come."
FEMA is providing $9.1 million to construct the 10 safe rooms, with FEMA paying almost 85 percent of the cost, according to a news release from Palazzo’s office.
“This grant funding will allow Forrest County to have a full complement of safe rooms to save lives,” Hyde-Smith said. “I look forward to seeing construction of these new facilities and progress made on the safe rooms already funded by FEMA in this area.”
The new safe rooms will meet FEMA 361 stand-alone safe room guidelines and will be able to withstand 200 mph winds and protect during tornadoes and hurricanes.
“Providing important mitigation measures is a goal that we’ve been working to achieve for years. I am glad to see Forrest County receive this important funding that will provide long-lasting protection for local residents,” Palazzo said.
Forrest County received $652,000 in November 2015 for the project and $7.38 million in July 2018 for the safe rooms, as well as funding for two previous safe rooms at the Dixie Attendance Center near Hattiesburg and the Forrest County Agricultural High School in Brooklyn.