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Iowa schools are making sure their buildings are safe in the case of tornadoes and one eastern Iowa school is leading the way.

The auditorium at the high school in Goose Lake is designed to be used as a storm shelter. It can hold 400 students.

“We can get the entire student body in here in less than five minutes,” said Superintendent Jim Cox of the Northeast Community School District. “If we have enough time and we’re able to move the elementary in, then they can use the stage and fill up the other seats.”

The FEMA-grade storm shelter is built to withstand winds of 250 miles per hour. That’s an F-4 strength tornado.

The project was three years and $6 million in the making.

The district is just one in a handful of states to have a shelter like this.

The national weather service recommends school districts include tornado shelters when planning additions or new school buildings.

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