‘Community safe room’ bid accepted

LAUREL — The Jones County Board of Supervisors awarded the bid for the construction of a Federal Emergency Management 361 Storm Shelter to Chris Albritton Construction Co. during Tuesday’s meeting at the Jones County Courthouse in Laurel.

The Laurel construction company submitted the lowest bid for the storm shelter which will be designed to withstand hurricane and tornado-force winds and the debris caused by such storms.

In earlier meetings, County Engineer Ronnie Clark described the “community safe room” as a concrete box designed to protect people from 250-miles-per-hour winds. The safe room will be designed to meet FEMA’s 361 performance standards and will accommodate up to 1,000 people for up to 36 hours.

“We recommend that the construction contract be awarded to the lowest bidder, contingent of the pending congruence from FEMA,” said Clark.

Chris Albritton submitted a based bid of $2,227,000.  The Jones County Emergency Management Agency received a $2.4 million grant from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the construction of the shelter. The grant assists states and local communities in implementing long-term hazard mitigation projects.

The $2.4 million represents 75 percent of the estimated construction cost. The  overall project will cost an estimated $3.2 million, with $802,500 provided by the county. The shelter will be located on the sight of the now defunct WAML Radio Station on Ellisville Boulevard near the fairgrounds.