The Norman Transcript

Headlines

June 20, 2013

May tornadoes prompt heightened scrutiny of school shelters

NORMAN — Barely a month since their occurrence, the tornadic events of May have joined the ranks of high-profile school emergencies as a source of heightened scrutiny on schools’ emergency preparedness.

Events like the Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, or the more local April 2012 tornado in Norman, have dramatically altered priorities in school design and district procedures, with May making certified storm shelters in schools a new concern.

“What gets put in school

facilities is reflective of priorities at the time,” Superintendent Joe Siano said. “In 1990, I was the principal of a brand new school and it didn’t have a secured vestibule entry or storm shelters — it just wasn’t a priority to communities at that time. For a new school now, that would be unthinkable.”

In light of the tragic loss of life at Moore’s Plaza Towers Elementary, public discourse has focused on reprioritizing the installment or addition of certified storm shelters in school facilities as an urgent initiative, and — as with so many other school initiatives — the deciding factor will be funds.

“From a construction standpoint, the Norman district will have to either incorporate storm-fortified rooms into new construction projects or build additions onto older schools,” Siano said. “If there’s a major revenue infusion from the state, the Norman district has the infrastructure to begin work within weeks of receiving it. Otherwise, we have to build storm shelter projects into our overall capital improvement plans, which include other priorities. We can’t forego standing priorities like instructional facilities or secured vestibule entries for storm shelters in capital projects.”

The possibility of allocating $500 million in state funds for school storm shelters has been discussed in the Legislature, but given the high pricetag of a FEMA-certified shelter, Siano said this sum would likely be far too little to make a significant statewide impact.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Baker home 3 Moore resident lands in new home 14 months after tornado

    She crawled from the rubble of what used to be her home. The neighborhood was destroyed. It was the afternoon of May 20, 2013, and Jamie Baker was homeless....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 2014

  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Voter registration deadline is Friday

    Friday is the last day to apply for voter registration to be eligible to vote in the Aug. 26 Runoff Primary Election. Races include federal, state and county offices, but for Cleveland County voters, the field is limited....

    July 30, 2014

  • Norman High student argues his way to the top

    Knowing the ins and outs of an argument that involves complex research is the type of skill one expects a high paid attorney to have not a high school student. Yet debate competitor Nicky Halterman has been arguing his way to the top of ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate approves new VA secretary

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new Veterans Affairs secretary, with a mission to overhaul an agency beleaguered by long veterans’ waits for health care and VA ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Tampering accusations surface in OKC bombing case

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawyer suing the FBI over his public records request for surveillance videos from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing said Tuesday that one of his witnesses backed out after being visited by government officials last ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Shelter construction ongoing; residents voice concerns

    A regular quarterly meeting of the Animal Shelter Oversight Board prompted Norman residents to speak up about more than just a photo release issue Monday night involving Friends of the Animals of Norman volunteers and the city of Norman. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senate passes highway bill, sends it to House

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 8:20 a.m. larceny report, 2000 block of West Lindsey Street · 9:04 a.m. stolen vehicle, 3400 block of Bart Conner Drive · 9:11 a.m. larceny report, 1200 block of Ed ...

    July 30, 2014