A FEMA safe room and classrooms has been added to Poplar Bluff Junior High School. More than 20,000 square feet was added to the original facility as the result of a $1 million federal grant, plus the district-wide levy issue voters approved in 2014. The construction project is the first of several major renovations to be completed this year as part of the R-I buildings plan. Architect Ben Traxel says the safe room, which doubles as a gymnasium, was designed to withstand an F5 tornado with 250 mph winds. The Junior High Science Department will move into six of the nine new classrooms next school year. The school also received ADA ramps, new bathroom and locker room facilities, and a loop road around the campus. In phase two of the plan, the lower gym will be converted to an industrial arts classroom, and the school will be able to vacate its standalone buildings altogether.