The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 24, 2013

Expert: Schools need shelters

NORMAN — Ninety-four percent of Oklahoma schools do not have tornado shelters, according to Gov. Mary Fallin, even though at least one weather expert says they should be standard.

With two Moore schools destroyed in Monday’s EF-5 tornado — and seven school children dead — the need for safe rooms has entered the state and national debate.

At a press conference Thursday, Fallin said 100 Oklahoma schools have tornado safe rooms or shelters, but the state has 1,752 public schools.

The governor was asked whether she would support legislation to require tornado shelters in all new school buildings.

“I think it is important for the state to talk about that,” Fallin said, adding that the state should gather information about which schools have shelters and what is needed.

Meteorologist Mike Smith, senior vice president of AccuWeather, said all schools need places to shelter during severe storms.

“Whether you call it a safe room, a storm shelter or an area with reinforced construction, schools should have a place for teachers, students and staff to congregate during a tornado or high-wind event,” Smith said.

On Thursday, Rep. Mark McBride announced that Apache Corporation has donated $500,000 to pay for safe rooms for schools. The money is designated for shelters at Moore schools.

McBride and other legislators who are forming a nonprofit to handle the funds hope the money will seed a bigger fund to build shelters in schools throughout the state.

Reps. Jon Echols and Richard Morrissette are helping organize the fund.

Moore teacher Kaye Davis said private funding will be the most efficient way to fund safe rooms in her district. She said she does not support state mandates that require districts to build safe rooms. Too often, she said, mandates go unfunded.

“In the situation where a state mandate exists, if the funding is not available, it could slow down the construction of a badly needed school,” she said. “Many of our schools are overcrowded now.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • N7 Sooners come together to serve Native American youth

    Whitney Wofford has faced some tough competition as a part of the Oklahoma tennis team. However, on Wednesday, Wofford may have taken on her biggest and most rewarding competition yet at the Sooners For N7 event at the Oklahoma football ...

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Earth Day activities continue this week

    Oklahoma is no stranger to extreme weather, but many say those extremes are even greater than before. Norman resident and biologist Kathy Rand is convinced those climate irregularities are a result of climate change caused by pollution, ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Moore schools receive $500K

    As Mickey Davis addressed the auditorium, the picture of a bright-eyed, happy 8-year-old on the podium in front of her could not be ignored. Davis’ son, Kyle Davis, was one of seven who lost their lives in the May 2013 tornadoes at Plaza ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Man arraigned after wife’s death

    A judge on Wednesday denied bond for a 37-year-old Norman man formally charged with stabbing his wife to death with a kitchen knife early Saturday morning in their southeast Norman apartment. Abid Sandhu, 37, was arraigned before Special ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Tornado Repair Oklahoma officials account for $9.4M in disaster spending

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Nearly a year after deadly tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, officials announced that they have spent close to $9.4 million in private donations on relief efforts....

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • School to present ‘Hamlet’

    To be or not to be? That is the question Norman North High School students are answering during their production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” this week....

    April 24, 2014

  • Historic house celebrates centennial

    When Fredrick Holmberg arrived in Norman more than 100 years ago, he tucked his violin beneath his arm and headed for the University of Oklahoma campus.  A century later, another violinist, Cindy Zhang, will perform at the home Holmberg ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Dorman wants bipartisan appeal

    Rep. Joe Dorman said he’s proud to be a Democrat running for governor, but he hopes to garner bipartisan support. In a visit Wednesday to the Transcript, Dorman said, if elected, he wants to work across party lines like former Gove. Henry ...

    April 24, 2014

  • ‘Frozen’ to air Friday

    Movies on Main in Blanchard will host a showing of “Frozen” at 8 p.m. Friday. The evening will include hot dogs, chips, drinks, popcorn and free movie merchandise....

    April 24, 2014

  • Safety Town registration begins Saturday

    Saturday marks the beginning of registration for Safety Town classes at Sooner Mall. Safety Town, a 37-year Norman tradition, teaches children, ages 5 and 6, the importance of bicycle, fire and personal safety. Classes are 50 minutes long ...

    April 24, 2014

Video
Facebook