A $1 million federal grant will go toward building a saferoom at the new Vilonia Intermediate School.
The Faulkner County school was under construction when it was destroyed by a tornado on April 27, 2014. 16 people were killed statewide in the storm.
Members of the Arkansas congressional delegation announced the grant Wednesday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The saferoom would provide protection for more than a thousand people and could withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour.
In a release from Sen. John Boozman's office, the state's senior senator said:
Vilonia residents are unfortunately all too familiar with the destruction Mother Nature can cause. These funds will help provide residents a safe place to take cover should dangerous storms strike in the future. I was pleased to see the progress in rebuilding this school and I am confident this saferoom will give students, teachers and staff peace of mind knowing that this facility will help keep them safe.
Sen. Tom Cotton said:
As Vilonia continues to heal from last year’s deadly storms, residents can now feel a sense of security knowing there will be a safe place to seek shelter in the event of another outbreak. This is just one more example of the resilience and perseverance of the Vilonia community.
U.S. Rep. French Hill of the 2nd Congressional district said:
The people of Vilonia were shaken when the tornado hit last year, but their resolve to rebuild the community has never once wavered. This state-of-the-art safe room to help protect our students and teachers in the face of a natural disaster is another part of that rebuilding process, and I am pleased that it is moving forward.