SAVANNAH — A state-of-the-art storm shelter being constructed in Savannah is designed to better prepare the city and its public works crews to hunker down if a big storm or hurricane threatens the region.
The shelter is rated to withstand a category 5 storm, The Savannah Morning News reported.
Since it is being built on one of the highest spots in Chatham County, officials say it’s also expected to be able to withstand severe flooding associated with a storm.
The 32,000-square-foot concrete structure is designed to shelter at least 250 workers, officials said. It has its own generator, a full-service kitchen, industrial-grade washers and dryers, showers, sleeping rooms, computer and data centers.
It’s being built with a $3 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. The city contributed another $2 million, largely from its water and sewer fund.
Construction began late last year, and it’s expected to be finished by August.
Savannah officials said they worked with Savannah architect Jerry Lominack to develop the concept for a new shelter and considered questions such as how much square footage is needed to allow 250 people sleep there, possibly for days? How many showers and restrooms would be needed?
“If we have 250 people coming in all at once after they’ve been going through rubble and trash and pulling bodies out of debris after a category 5 hurricane, they’re going to want to take a shower pretty quickly,” said Lominack, the project architect with Lominack, Kolman and Smith.
They calculated the number of showers needed and the plumbing demands needed so that every person could get a 15-minute shower in 90 minutes or less.
“Once we could establish occupancy and plumbing loads, that gave us sizes for everything else,” Lominack said.