- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MARION, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois school district will use a $1.2 million grant to pay part of the cost of building a severe weather shelter in an elementary school.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan (http://bit.ly/1njt1lX ) reports above-ground “safe room” at Marion’s Lincoln Elementary School will accommodate 600 people during tornadoes and thunderstorms.

Tuesday’s grant is from the Federal Emergency and Management Agency’s hazard mitigation program. The district will pay the $418,000 balance of the project that could be completed by the fall of 2015.

Superintendent Keith Oates calls the money “great news” and says it’s the culmination of years of work to secure the cash.

The school district already has a similar room at the Adams grade school near Creal Springs, with that space doubling as a cafeteria.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com