Jasper FEMA Shelter

Jasper, ARkansas

This multipurpose FEMA shelter at the Jasper School District in the town of Jasper, Arkansas, was completed in 2022 and provides a safe area for the school and community during extreme wind events. When not used as a shelter, the facility serves as a physical education space and includes an office and restrooms. The precast concrete exterior features a color-illuminated entrance awning and a FEMA-rated window system. That's right, windows in a storm shelter. In this case, we utilized a storm-proof window system designed and tested using FEMA 361 standards to withstand a CAT 5 tornado and the associated winds and flying debris. Natural light is worth it.

The patterns on the interior and exterior are inspired by the geology found in the bluffs along the nearby Buffalo River. The sandstone, limestone, and dolomite cliff faces have naturally occurring vertical streaks caused by mineral stains. The white, black, and gray colors, specifically on sandstone, come from the manganese and zinc minerals moved by heavy rains. These also happen to be Jasper's school colors, so go Pirates!

A community shelter or "safe room" is designed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during extreme wind events like tornadoes and hurricanes. It provides near-absolute protection for many members of the community when designed and constructed following FEMA criteria.

Typology K-12 Education | FEMA Shelter
location Jasper, Arkansas
completed 2022
photography Aaron Dougherty