School shelter still needs repairs 1 year later - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

School shelter still needs repairs 1 year later

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Inspectors said the shelter had too many problems and could not be used. Inspectors said the shelter had too many problems and could not be used.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

It is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama, which highlights the time to prepare before the next big weather event.

That is what leaders at one North Alabama school thought they were doing by installing a tornado shelter back in 2009.

However, $80,000 later, inspectors said the shelter had too many problems and could not be used.

After a year, Huntsville Christian Academy still has a lock on its shelter door, and as we head into another season of severe weather, Principal Reggie Whiddon fears he has no safe place to put his students.

In 2012, inspectors found several safety violations with the shelter, from ventilation problems to improper doors.

The school bought the shelter from Tornado Masters, a company that got shut down last year for building faulty shelters.

In a settlement with dozens of other customers who also had problem shelters, all the school got was $5,000 - not enough to bring it up to code, which is why the shelter is still locked.

"Sounds really easy just to complete the repairs that they required, but to do so would cost as almost as much as it took to build the shelter," said Whiddon.

Whiddon does not blame the company that sold the shelter to him for his problem.

"My frustration is with the state of Alabama because they approved the shelter from the beginning," he said.

In the meantime, he can only work to find money for the repairs and hope severe weather does not strike.

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