Oklahoma City elementary saferoom project is on schedule, on budget

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OKLAHOMA CITY -  Oklahoma City Public Schools hasn't built a saferoom in one of their school buildings in more than 10 years.

Since the Moore tornado in 2013, the state's largest district decided to start incorporating saferoom plans into all new construction.

The saferoom project is right on schedule.

Nichols Hills Elementary parents started fundraising for the gym 12 years ago and passed a bond issue to help it along in 2007.

Last year, the school board upgraded the scope of the project to make it a saferoom.

The structure features a four-foot thick concrete ceiling and 12-inch thick concrete walls; it's FEMA rated to withstand 250 mile per hour winds and debris.

Architect Tony Blatt, with Hornbeek and Blatt Architecture, drew up the structure, twice.

The building shell for the 8,000-square-foot saferoom went up in a week.

"It's really nice," said Blatt. "It's wonderful, and I think when it's all said and done, it's going to be spectacular. Everybody's going to be happy."

According to the city maps office, which is managing construction on site, the gym is on-time and on budget.

"It's going great," said project manager Rick Hargett. "It will serve the school wonderfully and it's good for the kids. It's a regular gym. It's just happens to also be a saferoom gym, so that if we have threatening weather, the kids can come in and be protected"

The $2 million project is the first of several saferoom gyms in the works for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

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