Oklahoma School Installs Classroom Shelters for Storms, Emergencies

Oklahoma School Installs Classroom Shelters for Storms, Emergencies

Osage Hills School in Bartlesville, Okla., has installed shelters in classrooms to protect students and staff during storms and other emergencies.

Osage Hills School in Bartlesville, Okla., has installed shelters in classrooms to protect students and staff during storms and other emergencies.

Osage Hills School officials started thinking about storm shelters after the Moore tornado in 2013. Voters passed a bond that included $180,000 set aside for a few large storm shelters, but administrators altered the plan after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

"We decided we needed to see if we could find a way that we wouldn’t have to transition kids into hallways or throughout the building. They didn’t have time in Parkland to move kids around," Osage Hills School Superintendent Jeannie O'Daniel said.

Osage Hills now has 13 bulletproof EF-5 tornado shelters. Every classroom has a shelter, and the shelters are protected with three latches and can be locked with a deadbolt from the inside.

The shelters are open to the public for use in emergencies as long as it’s during school hours. The largest shelter holds about 50 people, and the shelters in the classrooms hold about 30.

"We recently had storms in the area and we had parents calling us telling us, just keep my kids there after school because I know they’re safer there than if I were to come and get them," O'Daniel said.

According to O’Daniel, the smaller shelters in the classrooms cost $10,000 each. The larger shelter cost the district $24,000.

The shelters are wheelchair accessible and include outlets and LED lighting.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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