It's made out of reinforced bricks and meant to withstand weather that could crumble most houses.
Now, the Columbia County Emergency Services safe room has a pretty exterior to go along with its tough interior.
"It just looked plain," Director of Columbia County Emergency Services Pam Tucker said. "I wanted to spruce it up a little."
To help liven up the otherwise plain white room, Tucker asked Christina Rice to use her artistic talents and paint a mural on the exterior of the room.
The mural, which shows a tornado wreaking havoc on a car, cows and a wicked witch is near completion.
Rice, who has been doing charcoal portraits for more than 10 years, has spent many afternoons during the past two weeks painting the room, which will be incorporated into safety sessions the department holds for local children.
"I don't usually work in color or liquid medium," said Rice, who is Columbia County's director of Library Services. "Paint is not as forgiving, but the kids will like it."
Tucker said the safe room is a prototype for families to view before deciding whether to incorporate a similar room in their house. The cost of retrofitting a kitchen or closet would range from $4,000-$6,000, she said. To include a safe room in a new house would cost close to $2,500.
In the past several months, Tucker said many residents have asked for copies of the safe room's design, which are also available on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site - www.fema.gov.
Rice's services aren't included in those designs, though, and she isn't quite sure whether she likes her tornado creation.
"I don't know if I'm going to sign it," she said. "We'll see how it turns out."
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