Edmond Public Schools Wants Storm Shelters At Every School

Friday, August 8th 2014, 7:27 pm
By: News 9

Edmond school board members want storm shelters on every one of their campuses.

More than half of the district already has a safe room in place.

District officials say the goal is to get bond issues passed, totaling between $80 and $84 million dollars. That will include putting shelters in every Edmond school.

“It has eight inch thick concrete walls, eight inch thick concrete roof,” Edmond Associate Superintendent, Bret Towne, said.

Towne took News 9 through the new Heritage Elementary School off Sorghum Mill between Broadway and Bryant.

“This school, when it’s done, will have about 12 shelters,” Towne said.

Storm shelters inside schools has been the norm for Edmond since 1990. Still, more than half of the more than 23,000 students in the district don't have access to one.

“So what we’re looking at is probably a four-year period, adding shelters to each school that doesn’t have a shelter, or we’re upgrading what’s there,” Towne said.

The district is already experiencing significant growth. According to district officials, an $80-million dollar bond package was already approved by Edmond voters last year for renovations and construction of two new campuses.

One of those is Heritage Elementary. The new school will join at least seven others in the district that already have shelters on campus.

“They are significant structures,” said Towne. “The main thing is it’s going to be a space that we can use. It’s not just going to be a shelter. It’s going to be a classroom, a media center, a computer lab, a gym, those type of things.”

There are already more than 7,800 students who have access to a storm shelter in Edmond.

Bond elections on the issues in Edmond are planned for February.

Many other districts hope to add safe rooms through a bond election. Putnam City, Newkirk, Glencoe and Rush Springs are a few of the districts planning to add safe rooms to new or existing structures.

The ballots typically do not list specific projects, so check with your district to see if safe rooms are part of its bond proposal.

Those will be on the ballot for the August 26 election.