Bartlesville School Keeping Children Safe With New Storm Shelter

Tuesday, February 25th 2014, 6:11 pm
By: Craig Day

Severe weather season is just around the corner and children at one Green Country campus will be safer. The Tri County Technology Center is moving ahead with plans to build a reinforced storm shelter to protect children at their early childhood center.

The only thing on the minds of children at the Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville is packing in as much fun as possible before nap time. But the safety of the children is on the minds of school administrators.

Lindel Fields, with Tri County Technology Center "God forbid something happen like that and our chances are really low, but should a tornado come our way, we'll be ready for it."

When an EF-5 tornado with winds of 210 miles per hour killed 24 people in Moore last year, it got many teachers and parents wondering about the safety of children during dangerous storms.

Director Heather Pollock, said, "Really touched my heart and all of my teachers, and they were like, ‘what are we going to do? What if we really do have a tornado come through here?'"

Tri County Technology Center is building a 600 square foot classroom at its child development center that will double as a reinforced, storm ready safe room.

"Lots of concrete, lots of rebar and lots of footings and steel," Fields said.

The $300,000 safe room, which will be built on to the existing facility, will be large enough to hold up to 120 adults and children.

"I really don't think you can put a price tag on saving children's lives," Pollock said.

Tri County Technology Center's CEO said the Moore tornado prompted the decision to build it.

"Some of the tragedies we've seen recently, with the tornados and the shootings, we felt like it was important to create a more, safe environment. These are babies down here," said Fields.

Pollock is thankful; she knows firsthand how scary and dangerous Oklahoma tornados can be.

"I actually was in a tornado myself in the Oologah tornado, and it took my house, and my family was in it and we survived," Pollock recalled.

While still in the design phase, construction is expected to start in the next few weeks.

"We're ready to get this thing rolling and get this started so we can have a safe place to go," Pollock said.

The new safe room addition should be finished this summer.