Arkadelphia Community Safe Room (Photo: Marlisa Goldsmith/THV 11 News)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - When a tornado hit Arkadelphia in 1997, many residents thought it would be a good idea to have a safe place people could go--to seek protection from a storm. Seven years later, that place is complete near Peake Elementary.
Completed in 2004, the Arkadelphia Community Safe Room sits on Pine street right next to Peake Elementary School as a place for people to seek shelter in the event of a tornado.
"We would move the students into this classroom and the classroom next door first, and then we would start filling up the main room," explained Principal Nikki Thomas.
Several precautionary measures have been taken, including installing perforated walls and windows that lock for added security. The safe room has enough space to house all 350 students and faculty members at Peake Elementary.
Once all the students are accounted for, residents in the neighboring community are welcome to come in and fill any remaining space.
"We've worked with Office of Emergency Management and the Sheriff's Department before just to bring our students in, make sure we could fit everyone, [and] see what space we have left. We do that with them periodically."
After experiencing destruction 16 years ago, the Arkadelphia School District has learned from their past and prepares for the worst, but hopes for the best.