Hennessey may build underground shelter for entire elementary


HENNESSEY, Okla. — An Oklahoma school district is considering building a massive underground shelter that would give an entire elementary school safety from a tornado. But paying for it is another issue.

The Hennessey school board is leaning toward approving nearly $300,000 to build a 2,000 square foot shelter at the Hennessey Elementary. All 400 students and staff could get underground in minutes.

To pay for it, the board is looking into diverting money from a $2.2 million dollar bond issue, passed last year, that was meant to build an early childhood development center.

One board member says the seven Plaza Towers Elementary students who died in Moore on May 20th changed everyone’s perspective.

“At the end of the day, if this is nothing more than a storm shelter and we only have to use it once in the next ten years, then so be it,” Hennessey School Board Member Dr. James Matousek said. “It’s worth it.”

The Hennessey middle and high schools already have underground locker and band rooms.

Matousek said the board may also put budget money toward the project, which could take a year to complete.

The Hennessey school board is expected to vote on the matter September 3rd.