BACK TO SCHOOL – Area residents are welcome to come to Dyer Jr. High during threatening weather. The Dyer Jr.High School safe room is open to the public after school hours in the event of strong storms and tornado watches and warnings. Prinicpal Brad Garner says its especially meaningful for residents here who have been through dangerous weather situations before.
by April G. Jackson
Area residents have a new option in Dyer when threatening weather comes calling. And just knowing about it may offer a bit of peace of mind when spring winds howl.
The new FEMA Safe Room at Dyer Jr. High was completed in August, said principal Brad Garner. Dyer police have the key and will be unlocking it anytime after school hours when a tornado is possible.
“It’s available to the public for use during storm watches and warnings and built to protect even in an F-5 situation,” Garner said.
The room will hold 500 people standing. An identical room has also been built on the Dyer Elementary School side of College Street but is currently being used as classrooms.
“If school is in session, it’s not available,” Garner said. “But after hours, summers, weekends, night time….it’s a place to go. This community has been in the tornado situation before. If you want a place to come during bad weather, this is the place.”
During threatening weather, the school complex in Dyer now has safe places for all students without any having to cross the street in the storm. Grades 5-8 are at the junior high and grades Pre-K-4 are at the elementary school.
Area residents who are seeking shelter may park directly behind the junior high. Garner points out how heavy the doors are. He said it was amazing to see all the steel and concrete that went into the construction. A large portion of the funding of the facilities was provided through a competitive grant from FEMA.