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Oklahoma City may soon require safe rooms in all new schools

OKLAHOMA CITY – Protecting kids is the goal of a proposed change to Oklahoma City’s building code.

The idea, unveiled at Tuesday’s council meeting, would require a storm shelter or safe room in all new schools built inside the city limits.

James Kuchera said, “If you’re not for storm shelters, you’re not for kids.”

Kuchera, whose home near Briarwood suffered damage on May 20, fully supports the  proposed change to require shelters in new school construction.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said, “I think this is a common sense approach that we can do better.”

David Greenwell, an Oklahoma City council member, said, “I would say the council is 100 percent in agreement to move forward with this.”

While the idea appears to have unanimous support from the council, one group doesn’t support the change.

Oklahoma City’s Building Code Commission wrote in a letter, “It is our recommendation that this mandate should come from the governing body of the school.”

Still, amending the building code would not force daycares or churches that offer Sunday school to build safe rooms.

The city also isn’t looking to force existing schools to have shelters installed.

Kuchera said, “You gotta take care of kids.  They shouldn’t have to worry about being in school and getting blown away by a storm.”

The school district that is building the new schools would be required to pay for the shelters.

This is not a done deal just yet.

A final vote from the council will come next month.