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First Storm Shelter Is Approaching Completion

REBECCA HAZEN/Dade County Sentinel
The storm shelter at the Dade County Sports Complex is nearing completion. The shelter will hold 265 people. The building can also be used for meetings and other events.

News Editor

Emergency Management Director Alex Case informed community members that the storm shelter building modular pieces have arrived at the Dade County Sports Complex.

“We have been waiting on this for a long time due to restraints and funding. It’s been nearly three plus years waiting for FEMA to approve these storm shelters,” Case said.

Case noted that the four modular pieces of the shelter, from Modular Construction LLC, out of Bessemer, Ala., arrived on Tuesday, Jan. 25. The four separate pieces will be constructed together to make the single building.

“They have to work on the interior finishes. They have to caulk it, wire it up. Where the buildings meet up, they have to caulk it, pour concrete in-between, and then put the flooring down,” Case said.

Case continued, “We are doing a lot of in-house work ourselves to save money. These buildings went up $100,000 in the three and a half years when we first bid them out.”

However, there were some delays regarding the construction at the site, which has pushed back the preparations for the second shelter site.

“With some of the constraints with trucks and cranes, it is going to be postponed for about another week or another week and a half,” Case said.

There will be two more storm shelters, located at South Dade Community Center, and Davis School Road. The South Dade Community Center location will be worked on next.

The shelters will hold 265 people each. The shelters include bathrooms and a shower. It is accessible for those with disabilities. A camera will be in each building for security.

Case noted that they are looking into ways of unlocking the buildings electronically, or possibly having push button codes.

The Administration building and Justice building will still be opened as shelters in addition to the new ones.

Many studies had to be done in order to get the hazard mitigation grant, including a study on what county government property was available, and a study of how many homes were in a five-mile radius and in a two-mile radius.

“We originally had four properties that we had applied for. They approved three, and the fourth one was an alternative, the Old North Dade School on U.S. 11 North,” Case said.

Case said that the shelters would be multi-purpose buildings. For example, the building at the sports complex could be used for sport team meetings. Both the South Dade and the Davis locations will be used as voting precincts.

“We will use it for a warming shelter, a cooling shelter, a point of distribution,” Case said.

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