Voters Approve Safe Room/Event Center For Town Of Panama - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Voters Approve Safe Room/Event Center For Town Of Panama

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Tornado sirens will automatically open the doors to the public. Tornado sirens will automatically open the doors to the public.
The safe room/event center will be next to Panama Elementary School on Highway 271. The safe room/event center will be next to Panama Elementary School on Highway 271.
LEFLORE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

A town in LeFlore County will be getting storm shelter which will double as a school event center.

According to KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, the safe room/event center will be built next to Panama Elementary School on Highway 271.

“Our main goal is to take care of our babies, and that's all there is to it,” said Panama Public Schools Superintendent Grant Ralls.

On August 26, 2014, voters approved a $4.1 million bond issue which will raise their property taxes 18 percent.

Tornado sirens will automatically open the doors to the public, but Panama police will also be able to open the doors if there is an early enough warning for severe weather.

“You just don't know when it's going to drop out of the sky. And we'd like to think we have enough warning that we can get everyone there in plenty of time,” Ralls said.

The shelter will also include a gym with a basketball court, bleachers, locker rooms and a stage for choir and band performances.

Ralls says the new center will hold about 1,000 people and construction is expected to start next spring. He says work should be completed in 18 months.

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