Two SISD shelters ready for weather

When the next severe weather system strikes Slaton, the public will have two storm shelters in which to seek refuge.

Following last week’s hailstorm, Slaton ISD accelerated plans to open the shelters that are ready — one on the junior high campus and the other at the high school.

A Slaton ISD employee will unlock and direct the facility in the event of a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning.

“There are no assigned shelters,” said Slaton ISD Supt. Julee Becker. “Go to the closest one to you and seek shelter.”

Becker said both domes are completed enough to allow public access. The domes all have water fountains and public restrooms.

The dome at Cathelene Thomas Elementary is expected to be completed by mid-June, with the square shelter at Stephen F. Austin Elementary expected to be completed by the end of summer.

The domes are rated to withstand an EF-5 rated tornado by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), though they are not official FEMA shelters.

In the event of an emergency, fire code ratings would not apply to the shelters, and the domes could theoretically hold every person in town.

The shelters were constructed with the $14.4 million bond, which was approved in 2015.

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