Catoosa Public Schools Unveils New Tornado Shelter
CATOOSA, Oklahoma - One of the strongest tornado shelters in the state is right here in Green Country.
Catoosa Public Schools showed off its brand-new cafeteria, which doubles as a huge safe room.
The superintendent hopes to build more of these - one for each elementary school.
Tuesday, Superintendent Rick Kibbe was happy to show off Catoosa's new cafeteria/tornado shelter. The building is said to be able to withstand an F-5 tornado.
It has a monolithic dome - a round roof made of reinforced steel and layer after layer of concrete, making it one of the safest places to be during a natural disaster.
Monolithic dome president, Michael South said, "It's a solid shape. There's no connections, there's no pieces bolted together – it’s one solid concrete dome."
We got an inside look at the shelter last November when crews were just starting construction.
The project took about a year and cost $4 million, which came from bond money. The district believes it's money well spent.
In 1993, seven people died and hundreds more were hurt when an F-4 hit Catoosa, damaging its schools.
Should history ever repeat itself, students will now be protected.
"We do quite a bit of work focused directly on helping communities save lives. We've got smarter buildings, and with smarter buildings, we can help save lives," South said.
Kibbe said, "When a community decides, 'You know what? We can do better, we can rise above.' And that's what this community has done, is believe in the future."
Pawnee and Locust Grove also have monolithic domes at their schools, as well as the Muscogee Creek Nation.