LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - One of the few nuclear fallout shelters in San Diego County is now better equipped to teach about the Cuban Missile Crisis than to survive a future missile crisis.
The US Army Corps of Engineers constructed a fallout shelter underneath the Lakeside Farms Elementary School in Lakeside back in 1961. It was big enough to shelter a couple hundred residents at most. The shelter was equipped with a water purifier, generator, and provisions.
“We’ve changed out the lights considerably from what they used to be because they used to be little light bulbs,” said Lakeside Union School District employee Tim McKay.
The shelter was dismantled in 1994 after Lakeside Farms Elementary realized it could use the space. The fallout shelter is now three classrooms for fifth graders.
“The students honestly just love the fact that they are underground,” said Principal Matt Thompson.
“The kids love it!” added McKay. “Are you kidding? They come down that ramps they’re just excited to come down the ramp.”
The ramp leads several feet underground and through two sets of doors. Ninety-degree turns in the hallways were designed to prevent a nuclear explosion from getting into the shelter. Now it simply slows students before they enter the classroom.
The district employees said they don’t believe the shelter will be needed again, even if North Korea acts up.
“I have a little more faith in the United States’ capability of keeping it over there,” said McKay’s coworker Terry Sanchez.