Cedarville School District has received a $271,658 grant to add a kitchen to the saferoom located at the elementary school.
Cedarville received a matching grant from the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities to add the 2,400-square-feet commercial kitchen.
Total costs for the project are projected at $385,350, with the school district contributing $113,692, said Superintendent Dan Foreman.
Foreman is taking the plans for the new kitchen before the school board for approval at its regular meeting Thursday night, he said.
An outside area and the south wall of the saferoom were prepared for the kitchen addition during the room’s construction, which was completed in September 2012.
An entrance and exit door will connect the kitchen and main safe room area, which will be used for dining.
Foldup tables with connected benches that can easily be moved to the side walls will be used in the dining area, said Phillis Dickinson, principal for Cedarville Elementary.
"We have to be able to clear the room in 10 minutes in case of a tornado," Dickinson said.
After food service ends, the tables will be put away each day, Foreman said. With the tables against the wall, the safe room will still have the required square footage open for emergencies, he said.
Cedarville’s old elementary cafeteria, located across the lot from the new saferoom, will be demolished and the area used for extended parking, Foreman said.
While some equipment has been replaced and heating and air-conditioning installed, the 50-year-old cafeteria has never received a remodel, Dickinson said.
"It’s hard for some people to say goodbye to the cafeteria because of all the memories, and it is still fully functional, but it’s just decrepit," Dickinson said.
Once construction is completed, the new kitchen will almost all new industrial equipment, making it easily capable of serving the 325 students each meal, Foreman said.
Besides is availability for shelter during emergencies, students and staff use the saferoom for a number of activities such as physical education and assemblies, Dickinson said.
At 6,200 square feet, the structure features carpeted walls, heating and air-conditioning, and polished concrete floors.
Also housed in the building is back-up data system for the school and a back-up generator. Its two entrances are connected electronically to a satellite emergency system so that the double doors will come unlocked automatically in case of an emergency.
The next closest saferoom is located in Van Buren, some 10 miles away.
If approved by the school board, construction on the kitchen could begin in July.