School Safe Rooms A Question Of Budget - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

NEWS: Education

School Safe Rooms A Question Of Budget

Posted: Updated:
Plans for new construction at St. Pius include a storm shelter area. Plans for new construction at St. Pius include a storm shelter area.
St. Pius Principal Lisa Beardshear said you just can't consider the cost. St. Pius Principal Lisa Beardshear said you just can't consider the cost.
The Moore tornadoes killed several public school students. The Moore tornadoes killed several public school students.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The tragedy in Moore has school officials across the state re-thinking their strategy to keep kids safe. Some schools are bound by law in how their money is spent, others are drawing up new plans.

Educators proudly say student safety is at the top of their list. The events of this past Monday seem to have made it even more important.

"Monday was probably one of the worst days," said Lisa Beardshear, of St. Pius.

Beardshear is the principal at St. Pius School in Tulsa where more than 400 students are enrolled. They attend class in barrack like structures. In severe weather they go into the nearby parish hall and huddle in bathrooms or the kitchen, away from windows.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"Well, it's the best plan that we have, but we are in old barracks-style buildings that are barely above a trailer," she said.

Beardshear is in the middle of guiding St. Pius to a new building. The school had talked about whether a storm shelter should be part of the design, and last Friday the decision was made - go with a FEMA-approved, concrete reinforced room in the middle of the building.

It added $250,000 to the already $9 million project.

"It adds a little bit of cost, and we just can't even think about that," Beardshear said.

Broken Arrow Schools doesn't have that luxury. That school district has seven schools are under construction, each paid for through public bonds which strictly designate how the money is spent. Safe rooms were not part of the original vote.

But because of that tragedy in Moore, administrators in Broken Arrow say if they have any new construction in the future they'll talk with contractors and developers about what happened in Moore and why and if there's any new technology that will help protect students.

Tim Boeckman is the architect who designed St. Pius' new school.

"This little rectangle area is where the tornado shelter is at," said architect Tim Boeckman, pointing to his designs.

He says school districts are constantly talking about storm shelters, but it always boil down to one important item.

"Every school we do, they have that conversation and it's always a question of the dollars. Can we afford it or not?" he said.

Boeckman says the key to reducing cost is to consider other uses for the safe room. The one going in at St. Pius is a classroom and teacher's lounge when it's not being used in an emergency.

Special Features

Fallen Heroes

The News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

Health News

Find the latest health headlines & videos, plus get tips for healthy living.

Home & Family

Get ideas on spending more time with your family & improving your home life.

Politics

Breaking political news & the latest headlines from the state capitol & D.C.

Technology

Spend your money wisely with reviews of new tech gadgets & the latest news in technology.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Featured on NewsOn6.com

  • Crime Tracker

    Find out what crimes are committed in your area with Crime Tracker.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • 6 Investigates

    Are you aware of incidents of fraud, corruption, government waste? We investigate.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.