Spencer dome project waits on FEMA word



As Thanksgiving came and went, and then Christmas, and now it’s beyond the end of the school year’s first semester, the Spencer School District waits. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is going to give the district a sizeable construction grant for a new concrete dome gymnasium structure, but it’s not saying yet how much.
Given that the grant could be anywhere from $1.5 million to $2.5 million, that final number needs to be known before the district can move forward with establishing building budgets and plans. The grant is coming -- that’s a guarantee, says District Administrator Mike Endreas -- but for now it’s a waiting game on the final award figure.
FEMA had indicated it would announce the final amount in December, but that didn’t happen. Because this project is somewhat complicated by the fact that the district will be paying for parts of the dome construction while FEMA will be funding the part that relates to a community storm shelter, it’s taking longer than anticipated to apportion the numbers.
“It’s still a back and forth,” Endreas said of the district’s dealings with FEMA. “They’re just verifying numbers. They’re doing their diligence on it. I don’t blame them.”
The FEMA grant will help the district pay for the $5.98 million construction referendum passed by Spencer voters in April 2019. The centerpiece of the building project will be a dome structure on the east side of the high school. It will house a new gymnasium, wrestling area and fitness center, but it will also double as a community shelter in case of a tornado or other natural disaster.

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