Beggs' ' tornado resistant' school building

Friday, October 7th 2005, 9:53 am
By: News On 6

Classrooms generally look like they did decades ago, but a school in Beggs has a new, "safer" shape.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says 5th and 6th graders in Beggs Public Schools go to class in a dome. The new building is completely circular and has arched roof. The company who built the school says the school is "tornado-resistant" because the high winds flow around the building instead of smacking up against it.

Inside, it looks like a normal school, almost. Classrooms have towering ceilings and at least one curved wall. And lockers line the circular hallway that makes a path around the school's core. In the middle are the bathrooms and the safest place for students during a storm.

Beggs Middle School principal Cindy Swearingen: "We can put them all in the bathrooms, keep them all in the interiors, shut these doors so the windows don't burst."

Beggs Middle School teacher Sheila Stewart: "And we don't have to go to another building. We're safe in here. So it's kinda nice, very very nice."

In fact, if there's enough advance warning before a storm, students from nearby buildings will evacuate to the dome for shelter.

Crews were working on the dome all summer, and teachers were still moving in on the day before class.