West Harrison High School, FEMA 361 Community Shelter

Gulfport, MS

Project Description

Completed in 2008, these new, prototypical buildings serve their community in two ways – as educational facilities, and as FEMA 361 community shelters. The New East and West Harrison High Schools are designed with learning in mind; however, should the need arise, the schools will function as self supporting shelters and provide safe haven for people in need.

The 130,000 square foot West Harrison High School, and the 150,000 square foot East Harrison High School have three classroom wings housing 43 classrooms, computer and science laboratories, art and business class facilities, ROTC, and a building trades vocational program. Both high schools have a media center, cafeteria, and a 1,500-seat gymnasium with adjacent locker rooms.

In the event of a hurricane or tornado, the two level classroom wings act as community shelters and are designed in accordance with FEMA 361 shelter guidelines. They are filled cell construction where every cell of every CMU block must be reinforced with concrete and rebar. The wings are completely self-supporting. A well will provide the security of clean, running water and a generator can provide electricity to evacuees. The school also has its own sewer treatment plant so that in case of an emergency the shelters will function properly with or without municipal utilities. The schools’ windows also must resist the impact of a 2×4 board hitting them at 100 miles per hour.

*Joint Venture – Eley Guild Hardy Architects