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Emergency shelter that will double as a student gymnasium coming to High Island

Galveston County is looking forward to adding its first permanent emergency shelter on the Bolivar Peninsula, but this state of the art facility will offer a lot more than a roof over people’s heads.

When it’s not being used in an emergency, High Island ISD students will have a functional gym.

According to Galveston County Pct. 1 Commissioner Ryan Dennard, it will be one of the strongest buildings on the gulf coast.

“We’re talking about a 9,500 sq. ft. building, the facility will be hardened to a wind rating of 190 miles per hour,” Dennard said. “It’s also going to serve as a great facility on a day-to-day basis for the school kids, staff and administration in High Island ISD.”

It’s something athletic director John Jackson said is much needed for the area.

“This gives us more room and more opportunity for our kids to spend time in the gym to get better at athletics and of course education ,” Jackson said. “I was extremely excited and I’m deeply thankful to the community and state for putting this together… it just seems logical.”

Years of planning and about $4.2 million dollars are being invested into this project, completely funded by the Texas General Land Office - Disaster Recovery Division.

State Representative Wayne Faircloth, R-District 23, called the project common sense.

“I’m encouraged because you see a collaborative effort,” Fairlocth said. “You see every aspect of government and community come together and say ‘let’s do something that looks good and something that makes sense;’ this building certainly makes sense so I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Congressman Randy Weber agreed, calling Texas a role model for how government should operate.

“There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of common sense in government but here in Texas we get it right,” Weber said.

Construction is expected to start this month, and completion is anticipated for spring 2017.

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