NORMAN — With the help of Shelter Oklahoma Schools and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, a rural school will move ahead with plans to build a storm shelter to protect its school-aged children.
Friend School, located just a few miles northeast of Chickasha, has been raising funds for a shelter via a walk-a-thon. That effort raised about $27,000.
On Wednesday, Shelter Oklahoma Schools announced it was receiving a $100,000 donation from the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation, in association with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, with $25,000 of that going to Friend School.
That donation, coupled with the amount raised from the walk-a-thon, means the school can proceed with its shelter project, estimated to cost about $50,000.
Rep. Scott Biggs met with Shelter Oklahoma Schools and secures the $25,000 in matching funds to help complete funding for the project.
“Friend School had a goal of reaching $50,000 to pay for construction of a storm shelter for their school,” said Rep. Biggs, R-Chickasha. “This school is right in the path of some of the most dangerous storms in our state’s history. Knowing that they will be constructing a facility to be ready by next spring is a great step in the right direction.”
The school sits 150 yards from the path of a tornado that ripped through that small community in May 2011. The school, which has 223 students and 31 faculty members, looks to start construction on the shelter Sept. 13, with an anticipated completion in March 2014.
“I’m very impressed with this school and the volunteers who started raising funds on their own and worked toward addressing a need their school had,” Rep. Biggs said. “They’ve put a lot of hard work into raising funds for their shelter project, and I’m honored I was able to help them reach their fundraising goal.”