Bartlesville schools look to build storm shelters, safe rooms in case of weather, emergencies

BARTLESVILLE -- Tri County Technology Center is in the beginning stages of bring a "peace of mind" to its students and their parents.

At its Sept. 12 meeting, the board approved the design and construction of a storm shelter at its Child Development Center.

CEO Lindel Fields said there are anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people in the building, but this feature will be specifically for the center's students, which range from ages 0 to 4 years old.

"This shelter will not only be used in the case of weather, but also in the case of an emergency where we have to lock down," Fields said. "And thirdly, it will help us expand our operations."

Fields said the shelter will also operate as a classroom for 18-23 students. Officials expect to have the storm shelter in place in April.

"This has been a priority of mine for some time."

Bartlesville Public Schools has also begun talks of adding storm shelters or safe rooms to its buildings district-wide.

This school year, a storm shelter committee was developed to  

"The committee is made up of first responders, architects, professionals in construction," said Bartlesville Community Relations Coordinator Chris Tanea. "They are taking trips around the state to places where this has been successful to get a feel for what is being done. "

School officials hope to place a storm shelter at each occupied building.

Tanea says there is no specific timetable for implementing the storm shelter plan, but he does believe bond dollars will be necessary.

"We have explored grants, but we are going to move forward with our own fund as if we do not have any outside funding," he said. "If we are fortunate to get a grant or get funding from the state, we will use those funds as they become available."

TCTC is working within its current budget for the classroom shelter.

 "We are reorganizing our operational budget to fund this project," Fields said. "This is not one of those things you want to do halfway."

Both BPS and TCTC officials say the addition of storm shelters and safe rooms are a high priority to offer "peace of mind" throughout its campuses.

"It's another level of security to be able to provide not only for the students sake, but also our parents and staff," Fields said.

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