Bids for county shelters unveiled

Published 9:17pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013

By Sarah Mahan

The Selma Times-Journal

The Dallas County Emergency Management Agency recently released bidding contracts to begin the process of building three new storm shelters within the county.

The county’s storm shelter project, which began with a grant written after multiple tornadoes struck the state of Alabama in 2011, is made possible through federal funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Rhoda Abbott, director of the Dallas County EMA, said the process would begin in earnest after the bidding contracts are reviewed.

“We plan to begin reading the bids on August 5 at 2 p.m. We have submitted specs to contractors for all three locations, and then we examine the bids to see if they meet the criteria we as ask for. We will either accept a bid or begin the process again,” Abbott said. “We have to wait until August 5 to see where to go from there. After we decide on a bid, the Dallas County Commission will have to award approval of the bid.”

Cara Stallman, the project’s manager, said the new storm shelters would be modeled after the county’s two previously constructed shelters.

“There are two existing storm shelters in the county, and these three shelters will look exactly like those. Each will have a generator and a bathroom. The shelters are long, stand-alone cylindrical buildings with benches on the inside,” Stallman said.

Abbott said the new shelters would be constructed at the Dallas County Horse Arena on Dallas County Road 65, Pecan Road in the Plantersville area, and Southside High School on Alabama Highway 80.

Stallman added that the locations were chosen in efforts to meet certain government requirements and construction cannot begin until the bidding process is complete.

“The locations were determined when we wrote the grant in 2011. We have to build the shelters close to a predetermined amount of people. From there, we look for locations where the county already owns land,” Stallman said, noting it can take three to four months to get construction off the ground.

Bids will open August 5.

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