Nearing Completion, New Storm Shelters Providing Peace Of Mind In Oologah

Friday, September 2nd 2016, 5:59 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

There’s peace of mind in Oologah thanks to multi-million dollar storm shelters being built thanks to a bond issue that passed two years ago.

One is at the high school and another at the lower elementary school. When they are complete, they will hold thousands of people during storms.

Chase Kime graduated from Oologah High School in 1992. He's the school's football coach, and he remembers the tornado in April of 1991 that hit the school.

"You could see where things had been thrown through the walls, holes in the brick, roofs are collapsed, I mean, debris all over - everywhere, all over the parking lot," Kime said.

Now, the view from the parking lot is the construction of one of the storm shelters.

Together, the two shelters will have the potential to keep about 2,700 people safe.

Kime said, "I've got two kids in the system too. So I'm very happy that they're doing this, so I know if something was to happen, that mine, along with everybody else's kids, have a safe spot to go where they have a better chance of weathering the storm,"

But Superintendent Max Tanner said the shelters aren't just for students and staff, the district says the public can take shelter on nights and weekends.

Tanner said, "That was one way that we sold the bond issue. We wanted our community members to be able to use it,"

Kime said while it's been a quarter of a century since the tornado, he would rather the school be prepared than take any chances to repeat history.

"It was just -- chaos. You know, as far as, what the school used to look like," he said. "Every year there's gonna be one come through. You just hope and pray that it doesn't hit where you're at."

The superintendent's goal is to have both storm shelters ready by next year.