20 shelters on the way for Lafayette County use

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Twenty aboveground storm shelters will be installed at county work sites in Lafayette County.
A federal mitigation grant administered through the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will pay 95 percent of the $91,000 cost for the steel-and-concrete shelters, with the county paying $4,550.
“This grant opportunity came up a few months ago, and we got approval to apply,” said David Shaw, the county’s emergency management coordinator. “We just recently have received notice that we have been awarded the funds.”
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Board of Supervisors President Lloyd Oliphant said of the shelter program. “We seem, the last few years, to be plagued with tornadoes in this area.”
Shaw said the structures are similar to about 30 shelters already anchored in pairs at fire departments and other public locations throughout Lafayette and other Northeast Mississippi counties. Each existing and planned pair will accommodate about 40 people. Shaw expects installation to begin in April.
Several of the locations designated to receive shelters are in downtown Oxford – the Chancery Building, Sheriff’s Department, a Department of Human Services for child support enforcement economic assistance and another building shared by DHS and the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Other locations include the county maintenance shop, AbilityWorks (a workshop employing people with disabilities), the Health Department, the Oxford-Lafayette School of Applied Technology and Lafayette County School District’s administrative offices and bus shop.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.