Bartlesville School Adds Storm Shelters To Classrooms

Thursday, May 3rd 2018, 7:34 pm

The power of Oklahoma’s severe weather has some schools looking to protect students with the latest techniques. One school in Bartlesville is installing storm shelters in nearly every classroom.

Osage Hills Elementary began construction on these safe rooms Thursday and School Safe Modular Shelters, the company that builds these rooms, says it's certified to withstand an EF-5 tornado.

“These steel walls going up in classrooms are a big upgrade for students, teachers, and staff, who used to take shelter in the hallway - or in a bathroom.” said President Charlie Willsey, "It's the greatest gratification and blessing we have to think about we can have 200 people safe in a school."

Osage Hills Superintendent Jeannie O'Daniel says the school started thinking about shelters after the 2013 Moore tornado, which killed seven students at Plaza Towers Elementary. Thanks to a roughly $300,000 bond passed by voters last year, the shelters are now becoming a reality.

"It just relieves a huge burden. It means a lot to our parents and our teachers to know that our kids are gonna be safe." O'Daniel says the plan is to have 10-12 shelters - giving protection to all 168 students, plus teachers and staff.

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Construction will continue this weekend and all of the shelters should be ready by the beginning of the next school year.