COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Lewis Central Community School District has a plan to get students and teachers at E. A. Kreft Primary School out of the area quickly if a levee breaks while school is in session.
"We can evacuate within minutes," district operations director Jeff Carper said at Monday's school board meeting.
Kreft, at 3206 Renner Drive, could be in jeopardy as the Missouri River continues to threaten the area. The river could remain at flood stage well past the scheduled Aug. 17 start of the school year.
"We had a couple meetings with Council Bluffs officials. They shared with us that Kreft was on the list of schools in danger in case of catastrophic flood events," district superintendent Mark Schweer said.
Since then, the district has been working with city, state and county officials to set up an evacuation plan.
The plan is to keep a number of school buses and drivers at the school all day. If the district is alerted to a possible levee breach that threatens Kreft, "I'll have people there," Carper told the board.
The evacuation plan, effective from Aug. 17 until Dec. 21, would be activated if city officials declare an alert. Principal Barb Grell would announce the evacuation and everyone would leave the building and board the buses, which would be stationed at each building entrance.
The buses would take the students to Lewis Central Middle School auditorium.
Students will practice the evacuation plan twice a month.
"Having buses staged at the school will give you a head start, and the bimonthly training plan is fantastic. It's really the key," Brad Nocita, the assistant Council Bluffs fire chief, told Carper and the board.
Nocita attended the meeting along with Steve Warren of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Jeff Theule of Pottawattamie County Emergency Management.
"The district is way ahead of the curve with this plan," Nocita said.
"Mr. Carper developed this plan, and now we let parents know the safety of their children is of utmost importance," Schweer said.