Conway Schools Open Additional Shelters

Conway Public Schools

Construction is now completed on eight new storm shelters at Conway’s Elementary Schools.

This brings the total to 11 shelters or “safe rooms” in the Conway Public School District.

The new storm shelters are located throughout the district at the following schools:

Carolyn Lewis Elementary School- 1805 Old Military Road
Ellen Smith Elementary School- 1601 South Donaghey
Florence Mattison Elementary School- 2001 Florence Mattison
Jim Stone Elementary School- 4255 College Avenue
Julia Lee Moore Elementary School- 1301 Country Club Road
Marguerite Vann Elementary School- 2845 Carl Stuart Road
Theodore Jones Elementary School- 1800 Freyaldenhoven Lane
Woodrow Cummins Elementary School- 1440 Padgett Road

Existing safe rooms are in place at Ida Burns Elementary School (1201 South Donaghey), Ruth Doyle Middle School (800 Padgett Road), and Simon Middle School 1601 Siebenmorgan Road).

Conway Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Greg Murry says this extra measure of safety will give parents and staff added peace of mind during inclement weather.

“We are proud that our school board has made this a priority- giving us one more way to maintain a safe and caring environment for our students while they are in our care,” says Murry.

The storm shelters, which will now be located throughout the city, are available for use by the public during non-school hours. School hours are from 7:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday during the school year.

The shelters are wired in with the City of Conway’s Severe Weather alert system, so when the sirens go off for a Tornado Warning, the doors open automatically for community members to go inside. During storm season, the doors will be checked weekly to make sure the automatic openers are working properly. Rules are posted at each site. The doors will automatically close when the warning expires.

The locations and information about the storm shelters are posted on the district’s website.

“It is our sincere hope that we never have to use these shelters for a severe weather event,” says Murry, “because it is always our hope that we won’t have a severe weather event impact our community.  But if we do, we know that our people have a safe place to go.”

Community members who plan to use the shelters in the event of severe weather should visit the shelter during non-school hours and a non-weather event to locate parking, entrances, etc. to formulate the best plan should severe weather indeed necessitate using the shelter in an emergency situation.

Starting next school year, the new facilities will be used by the schools for physical education classrooms and indoor recess. This gives them needed additional space for their students and teachers.

“All our elementary schools are thankful to have this extra room for kids,” says Communication Specialist Heather Kendrick. “Some of our Physical Education classes are doubling their classroom space and others are getting more options for activities, recess, etc.”

The new storm shelters are officially “open and ready” as of May 15, 2018.

The school board will discuss adding storm shelters to the two remaining middle schools, Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School and Carl Stuart Middle School, during the next school year.

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