Monday, January 9, 2017

Ribbon Cutting Held For New Storm Shelter at Nanih Wayia School

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Monday, January 9th for the new storm shelter and cafeteria located at the Nanih Waiya Attendance Center. The 6600 square foot safe room that will also serve as a cafeteria for the school has been built to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. Mark Dillard, Board President of the Louisville Municipal School District Board of Trustees opened the ceremony by thanking the many elected officials past and present and school officials who helped make the project successful.

Dillard noted that the project came in under budget and on time and met the goal to provide a safe place for students and the community to seek shelter in the event of severe weather and to also provide a fully functional cafeteria so desperately needed by the school. Dillard noted that the success of the project highlighted the effective partnership of the Louisville Municipal School District with government at all levels.

District Superintendent Ken McMullan noted that this building was desperately needed for the school, this district and the county. The new structure will replace a 55 year old cafeteria. McMullan singled out three people who were instrumental in the project. This included Buddy King, the Emergency Management Director for Winston County, Luke Parkes, Winston County Supervisor and State Representative Michael Ted Evans. McMullan acknowledged that plans had been in the works long before the 2014 tornado but that event moved the project to the top of the list.

Emergency Management Director Buddy King acknowledged that Winston County has had more than its share of storms and indicated that the community knows how to respond to such events. King said that the structure was rated to house up to 648 people and that this was the first certified storm shelter in Winston County.

State Representative Joey Hood and State Senator Jenifer Branning also spoke and thanked officials and offered their continued support.

The Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Lee Smithson noted that this project was another milestone in our state's recovery from that devastation in April of 2014; " We turned tragedy into triumph to rebuild better than before the storm."

Smithson expressed his thanks and admiration for all the leadership shown by local officials in Winston County and Louisville. " The rebuilding of Winston County is a definition of the strength of Mississippi."

Smithson also spoke of the progress and rebirth in Winston County including Winston Plywood and the new healthcare facility currently under construction.

State Representative Michael Ted Evans also spoke of the effort required to complete and accomplish this project. Evans had the privilege of introducing First Lady Deborah Bryant and recognized her service to the community after the storm.

Bryant spoke of her experience in Louisville after the devastating tornado in April 2014 and her admiration for the volunteers on that day. She noted that she thinks about the people of Winston County often and has seen that the county has come such a long way from that day.
Ribbon Cutting with cafeteria staff

Ribbon cutting with LMSD board members
Ribbon cutting with elected officials and others