Tulsa Public Schools installing storm shelters

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TULSA, Okla. (KJRH)– Tornado season is right around the corner, and Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) is going to great lengths to install storm shelters at the schools.

“The tornado area that we are in, we came up with the idea as we do additions onto schools, let’s build safe rooms,” a TPS administrator said.

The building looks like a library. But when the rolling door goes down, the library is transformed into a FEMA approved storm shelter. School leaders say it’s big enough to hold the 400 who attend the school. And all the windows and natural light help the kids feel comfortable.

“When you are building a library, you want a learning environment because that is what it’s used for. The ability to have natural sunlight is phenomenal.”

“Bulletproof. You can hear the sound difference from a regular window. Really cuts down on the sound.”

The school district says it cost about $7 million to install the storm shelters at a school. But that doesn’t just provide a shelter-library, it provides a piece of mind. After the Moore tornado two years ago that took the lives of seven students at Plaza Towers Elementary, there has been a push to add shelters to schools.

State Insurance Commissioner, John Doak thinks local school districts taking action is a great idea.

“They are not going to get that phone call like at Plaza Towers. They will know in this room their children are going to be very safe. And let’s hope they never have to use this facility.”

Tulsa Public Schools has a bond issue coming up March 3 for $415 million.  That money would help pay for 20 more storm shelters at TPS schools.

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