First-of-its-kind preschool in St. Peters puts emphasis on storm shelter safety

ST. PETERS, Mo. - St. Charles County families will soon have access to a new preschool that offers a one of a kind safety feature.

The owner of Primrose School of St. Charles at Heritage says it is the first private preschool in the St. Louis area that will have a storm shelter in accordance with the latest FEMA standards.

The school, located at S. St. Peters Parkway and Heritage Crossing, is being built to accommodate 182 children, six weeks to six years of age, as well as after school care for children up to 12.

The school will operate year-round.

The storm shelter is being built with eight-inch reinforced concrete walls and an 11-inch concrete roof to withstand 250 mile per hour winds.

Jamie Ovlia, who owns the private school, said being a parent of three little ones herself, she wants all parents to know their children will be safe at Primrose School.

"I think all of us have experienced being down in our basement with our children and being nervous. And for parents, knowing that their children are inside of a safe structure that was built to withstand those strong winds in the event of a tornado, that they can have peace of mind when they are at work or at home or out of town that their child is safe with us," Ovlia said.

Although the federal government does not require preschools to have a storm shelter, new schools that have students in kindergarten and up are required to have the shelters, Ovlia said.

She said they are going above and beyond standards to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children. The Primrose School of St. Charles at Heritage is scheduled to open by mid-summer of 2018.