Plans are presently underway to improve the Florida State University Schools (FSUS) special-needs shelter, so it can serve double the number of clients housed on the campus during a hurricane.

FSUS is activated as a special- needs shelter during hurricanes for people who need medical attention and who are without power.

Dr. Stacy Chambers, FSUS Executive Director, said the plans will make the school an even better shelter.

“FSUS received two million dollars for hurricane preparedness and for hardening the shelter,” said Dr. Chambers. The funds  will go toward updating the gym, cafeteria, and music rooms connected to the cafeteria. These are areas where the clients who need constant medical attention and power reside during hurricanes.

Dr. Chambers said construction of the improvements is scheduled to begin in June 2019 so the shelter will be ready by the time the 2019-2020 school year begins.

The school responds quickly to setting up, which was evident during Hurricane Michael. “I get a call that we are going to be activated and it takes half a day to a day to open up,” said Dr.  Chambers.

FSUS has a “massive generator,” Dr. Chambers said, which is used in  case the school loses power.

Supplies like cots, tables and medical supplies are also provided to the clients.

The clients stay in the gym and are fed in the cafeteria, unless they need to stay in a place with fewer people. In this case, they will stay in a room in the Gold Building.

“We have a good relationship with the Department of Health and Leon County Emergency Services,” said Dr. Chambers. Members of the Red Cross also bring meals to the school when requested.

When the clients are all out of the gym, sanitation then becomes very important.

“We hire a professional commercial cleaner to deep clean everything from head to toe,” Dr. Chambers said.

FSUS has been a special-needs shelter on this campus since 2001.

Cassandra Crabb, Bryce Kelley, Staff Writers for the FSUS ‘Seminole Trails’ newspaper