New community safe room planned for Tuscaloosa

New community safe room planned for Tuscaloosa
(Source: Terri Brewer/WBRC)
(Source: Terri Brewer/WBRC)

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority is hosting a meeting, Thursday at 6 p.m., focusing on plans to renovate the McDonald Hughes Center and add a community safe room.

PARA spokesperson Becky Booker says the organization is planning for the safe room to be the largest in the state.

Current plans call for the shelter to be approximately 12,000 square feet, with FEMA's highest rating for a safe room.

"All the windows, all the doors, you know, every aspect of the facility will have the highest rating for tornadoes," Booker said. "And it will be separate, but connected to the Hughes Center."

On a daily basis, the safe room will be a basketball court. In times of severe weather, it will be open to the public.

Meanwhile, the existing center will see major renovations, including the addition of an indoor play facility.

After a construction company is selected, Booker says the center renovations will take about six months, and the storm shelter will take about a year to build.

Thursday's meeting will be a time for the community to learn about the plans and give feedback on the type of programming they would like the center to have.

The McDonald Hughes Center is located on MLK West Tuscaloosa.

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