The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 15, 2013

Kids to be protected by 10-ton slabs of cement

ELDON — One tornado in the district was enough to convince school board members that children required further defense against bad weather.

"It was 12 years ago that a tornado struck our district [in Agency], killing two people," said Joel Pedersen, superintendent of the Cardinal school district.

If a tornado had struck Cardinal High School, students and staff could have gone to the basement; the locker rooms, for example, are underground and would provide protection from bad weather, Pedersen said. But the elementary school has nothing to act as a shield. Pedersen said he and other stakeholders in the community worried about the "what if" scenario.

This week, contractors began construction of the district's "saferoom." Les Shepherd, the Cardinal maintenance staffer helping to oversee the project, said a crane is lowering 20,000 pound panels into place. Cedar Valley Steel then sets the panels, which are a foot thick, into steel pieces, which are then welded to create a frame. Shepherd said there are 24 of those 10-ton panels. Once they form the walls, crews will lay forms and supports on top of them. They'll then pour a 10-inch thick concrete roof onto the room, making it one solid cube. There will be a generator inside, as well as a list of items required to be kept in the shelter. The general contractor, Bi-State Contracting, is known to Ottumwans as the builder of the new Liberty school on the south side.

"[This project] probably started in the fall of 2010," said the superintendent. "I found out there was some funding for schools for saferooms that would protect students and staff. It was a long process working with Homeland Security and FEMA. We became part of the Wapello County Hazard Mitigation Plan. In November of 2012, we were awarded $550,000. That’ll be about 50 percent of the cost."

Text Only
Local News
  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Byway color photo -L -T -M Bike the Byway coming to southeast Iowa

    OTTUMWA — The first Bike the Byway ride will feature communities along the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and make for a fun day of bike riding. Scheduled for June 21, the ride will begin in Ottumwa and take cyclists through Blakesburg, Unionville, Drak

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Tupper cover bw -L -T -M The 24-hour news cycle OTTUMWA — It's a story of political campaigning, dark secrets and the painful glare of the national spotlight — and Ottumwa plays a cameo role. In J. Mark Powell's new novel "Tell It Like Tupper," several southern Iowa towns provide much of the story

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0423 OTT Reminisce color photo -L -T -M 'On the Riverfront' draws a crowd OTTUMWA — The Des Moines River has been the defining feature of Ottumwa since its early days, and the crowd who attended Tuesday's Reminisce Society presentation proves it's still an immensely popular topic. The Ottumwa Public Library's meeting room

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT artist rendering color -L -T -M New look for Jefferson Street parking lot OTTUMWA — More improvements are on their way to downtown Ottumwa. During a special meeting of the Ottumwa City Council Monday night, council members approved a memorandum of understanding with the Legacy Foundation to improve the parking lot south of

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Happier students, higher scores OTTUMWA — It's nearly a cliche in the business world: "Happy workers are productive workers." Schools are testing whether "Happier students are higher achieving students." "That sense of belonging [drives people] to achievement," said Davis Eidahl, s

    April 21, 2014

  • Legacy Foundation announces $150,000 in grant awards OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has announced the names of its newest Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund partners as 14 grants were recently awarded to local nonprofit organizations totaling $150,000. “We received $350,000 in fun

    April 21, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition