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  1. #1

    Default Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Guess there isn't a thread for this topic. Found this article and this isn't a bad idea. They really should do the GYM and make all bathrooms with reenforced concrete on level with what they do with Oz Shelters. They still should build large underground storm shelters in new school construction.

    ''Dozens of first-graders giggled as they sprinted from one end of the heavily reinforced structure to the other end, unaware their new gymnasium was built to withstand 250 mph winds.


    Kim Lanier, the longtime superintendent of Oakdale School in northeast Oklahoma City, hopes he never has to test what doubles as a 6,500-square-foot safe room.

    “You feel safer because you have a more secure place to go,” Lanier said Thursday. “But it doesn't discount the procedures you need to have to get there.”

    Fortified with concrete and rebar and big enough to hold 1,300 people, safe rooms like the one at Oakdale may be the new trend in tornado protection for schools across the state

    In the wake of the devastating May 20 tornado that demolished two schools and killed seven third-graders at Plaza Towers Elementary, school officials throughout Oklahoma are considering whether to incorporate safe rooms into new gym and classroom construction. Nearly two dozen such projects are being considered in Oklahoma City alone.

    Safe rooms are considered to be more cost-effective than underground shelters, which require elevators and access for the disabled, and are not used except in emergencies, said Jeff Wegener, co-owner of LWPB Architecture, the Oklahoma City firm that designed the Oakdale safe room.''



    Read more here - http://newsok.com/oklahoma-schools-c...rticle/3880799


    Also,

    The project will be paid for with “leftover” MAPS for Kids funding, district officials said.
    While that is nice, it won't fund every school and living smack dab in tornado alley, we really should have storm shelters in schools, hospitals, government buildings, high density living areas also including suburban apartment complexes, and I would even advocate that new home construction should at least be required to have a reenforced bathroom or something.

  2. Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Plutonic Panda,
    Although Oakdale isn't the "tornado alley" you are referring to, we have had our share. The new gym at Oakdale is the replacement for the damaged one from the 1999 tornado. That tornado destroyed the school building/cafeteria and has since been rebuilt. There have been at least three serious tornados in this area since the late 60's.
    C. T.
    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    While that is nice, it won't fund every school and living smack dab in tornado alley, we really should have storm shelters in schools, hospitals, government buildings, high density living areas also including suburban apartment complexes, and I would even advocate that new home construction should at least be required to have a reenforced bathroom or something.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters


  4. #4

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    http://www.oklahoman.com/article/3937245?embargo=1

    Overriding a Building Code Commission recommendation, the Oklahoma City Council voted Tuesday to require safe rooms in new school buildings.

    The measure will require a new school building to have tornado-resistant spaces with at least enough room to protect the number of children and teachers for which the building was designed. The Building Code Commission had recommended safe room construction decisions be left to school boards.

    The change to the city’s building code takes effect May 1.
    Dave Lopez, Oklahoma City schools’ interim superintendent, said Tuesday’s vote was “an example of the continued commitment and support this city has for the students in our schools.”
    While the Oklahoma City district is considering building safe rooms as part of new gym construction at several schools, no new school construction is planned, said Tierney Tinnin, the district’s spokeswoman.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    All good ideas here.
    Yet, doesn't the question remain:
    Who is going to make sure the actual construction is done to specifications?

    It is impossible to create a "tornado proof" structure.
    It is possible to minimize the loss of life by careful design and realization of the vision in the plan.

    (from what I've seen, in passing, The Episcopalians over there at Cassidy, are taking appropriate measures in this regard connected with their new "Science Building")

  6. #6

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Quote Originally Posted by RadicalModerate View Post
    All good ideas here.
    Yet, doesn't the question remain:
    Who is going to make sure the actual construction is done to specifications?

    It is impossible to create a "tornado proof" structure.
    It is possible to minimize the loss of life by careful design and realization of the vision in the plan.

    (from what I've seen, in passing, The Episcopalians over there at Cassidy, are taking appropriate measures in this regard connected with their new "Science Building")
    I 100% agree. We are never going to build a tornado proof shelter. If you need any proof of that, look what happened to Mercy's hospital in Joplin. It only took a sideswipe and it pretty much destroyed the building. Imagine if it had hit head on. Chances our more than likely they would have spent weeks if not months pulling remains out of the rubble. Right now we know that safe rooms work on the small to medium scale. We don't how well a large structure will hold up especially if it is open floor plan.

    The community shelter is yet another soup sandwich idea that will eventually lead to a high body count. Sure, people's chances of survival from the storm would be great however, if the community shelter takes a direct hit you can guarantee people will killing one another to get out. The average person does not think exit in an orderly fashion with the most vulnerable getting out first. Most people out there today will panic and hit, stab, punch, stomp, kick and possibly shoot their way out. Not to mention, there is always the potential of numerous deaths from people fleeing to the shelter at the last minute. When the storm sirens are blowing, its too late to move. You shelter in place and just hope for the best.

    The best idea I have heard to date is canceling school when storms are predicted like they were last May. The forecasters had it nailed down almost to the hour. Canceling school, work and all non priority functions will allow people to plan ahead and be in shelter when the storms are moving in. We might as well treat the days they are predicted like they hurricanes on the coasts.

    If we are going to build shelters, lets start by putting them in every home and then move to looking at larger buildings.
    We have had these storms for decades, it is time to require shelters in every new home and fund a grant program to help people buy them for their homes.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    I definitely don't agree with requiring shelters. For people with money, that seems like a fabulous idea but plenty of people are just starting out and/or just squeaking by. That being said, the reality is that people share their shelters with friends and family. That's just the way it happens so even when not everyone has their own shelter, the vast majority of people with shelters are willing to share. To me, the best way to address the problem is to advertise the super low rates available for shelter loans, give rebates and tax credits, encourage new home buildings to offer shelters as an option and get HOA's to address it at a neighborhood level.

    Shelters are big business and I see many multiples of new shelters just driving down any given street. There are many, many, many more home shelters, these days, than even 5 years ago. I honestly believe that better materials/engineering and the acceptance of above ground shelters, including safe rooms, as well as below ground garage style shelters are rapidly addressing the problem. IMO, the market coupled with good policy is addressing the issue.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    The problem with only building to withstand 250 mph winds is that the strongest tornadoes will exceed that MPH number.
    I do not like the idea of gymnasiums for shelters. You could have a catastrophic loss of life with a single failure or from a direct hit from a very strong tornado since they are only designed to withstand 250 MPH winds....

    I like the idea of an in class room shelter like they have done at Norman's Reagan elementary, where they are like pods that sit in the center of the building and sit much lower to the ground.This offers a degree of additional protection over a gymnasium.

    But its very good news that we are now finally moving in the right direction on this issue.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Shelters for new home construction and other new occupied buildings or at least having easy access to storm shelters should be a building code requirement in most of Oklahoma.
    Over a period of many decades they would pay for them self’s with lower death and injury rates. We tend to over look the disabling injuries that last a life time for some folks and the cost burden associated with it on our society. Our insurance rates may also stay lower with more shelters.

    With the cost of most new homes and other buildings, its a pretty small % price
    If needed the cost could be built into the mortgage.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    A Flash from the past . . .

    Anyone remember when that tornado hit the south part of Edmond one evening, around sunset, in about '82? Pretty much trashed a neighborhood there. I was a framing carpenter back then, doing a little volunteer community service, remodeling the interior of the local police station, and got to listen to all the official radio chatter during the event. It was pretty exciting . . . and it was way over there.

    A day or so later, on In Your Corner TV, there was Brad Edwards (or whomever), in the [damage] field, with a totally outraged and disgruntled homeowner. The angry citizen was pointing out the shoddy construction that resulted in his house being demolished and spread in splinters and shards all over the place. His point of concern was the fact that no nuts or washers had been properly placed on the J-Bolts holding the bottom plate to the slab. Remember: The rest of the house had been transformed back into a chaotic pile of lumber litter. Yet, the bottom plate was still attached to the slab, probably by the Ram-Set pins or other hardware the framers chose to use to keep the bottom plates from moving laterally (and, in this case, vertically and/or laterally).

    I found it difficult to share any of the outrage or false concern. To me it was simply reinforcement of the bullsh!t streaming into our lives daily via The Media.

    Again: It is impossible to build a livable, residential, structure that will survive a tornado unless you opt for an "In-Ground" dwelling space (and deal with all of the associated drainage and infinite other "issues".)

    Having said all that . . . The "evidence" presented, thus far, on this thread, illustrating the cobbled-up, corner-cutting, "p o s" Commercial construction involved in that school building continues to make me sick. However, noting all of this makes me feel a little better. =)

  11. #11

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Stay tuned for a couple of comments on how to make Big Box, Tilt-Up, Retail Spaces a lot safer for the Shopping Public at minimal cost (with maximum results). =)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    It's a start!

    A safe room able to hold 600 students and faculty will be added to the first new school in the downtown Oklahoma City area in several decades.

    “We’re still working through whether it’s going to be above ground or below ground,” said Kirk Humphreys, board chairman at John W. Rex Charter Elementary School at N Walker and W Sheridan avenues.

    The school is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2014-15 school year, but timing on the safe room is not yet known, Humphreys said.

    Construction began before deadly tornadoes hit central Oklahoma in May. After seeing the importance of having shelter during dangerous weather, school leaders made plans for the addition.

    - read more here: New OKC elementary will add safe room | News OK

  13. #13

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    I still find myself shaking my head with the concept a large "Tornado Proof" Shelter. We need to respect the fact that nature is going to kill some of us no matter what we do and no matter how many "Safety Measures" we apply. In the end, we are going to blow millions of dollars just to help a few people sleep better at night. In 5,10, 25 or 50 years from now we are still going to be mourning the loss of lives lost in a shelter we thought would stand up to the destructive winds of a tornado. At that point we will just be out of the money that could have been used to enhance warning systems, possibly create personal protective gear and teach everyone first aid and how to control yourself in an emergency. Very few people know what to do for themselves and for others when major injuries occur. Anymore I think more people die from panic then they do anything else.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    New safety director says Oklahoma City school hallways 'not appropriate' for refuge during extreme weather | News OK

    With the threat of severe weather back in the forecast, Ian Wolfe is running a race against the clock to find the safest places for students to seek shelter during a tornado.

    Wolfe, the new director of safety for Oklahoma City Public Schools, is busy working to determine what he calls “the best areas of refuge” in every school without a safe room.
    I certainly applaud the OKCPS for advance planning to do the best they can with what they have.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    I had a parent that has a kid in a Moore elementary school that they have made badges for students to wear on high risk tornado days for better identification.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    not looking good at the moment

    •One of Gov. Mary Fallin’s top priorities, a bill that would refer to voters a measure allowing school districts a one-time hike in bonding authority to fund school storm shelters and other safety improvements.
    Several key issues are unresolved as Oklahoma Legislature speeds to adjournment | News OK

  17. #17

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    @ljbab728 This might sound odd but when I was Elementary school pretty much every thought going in the hallway and protecting your head wasn't gonna do much. How would that protect you if kids knew this 10 or 15 years ago I'm pretty sure everyone has always known this. But it's great that the director of safety publicly admitted it.


    Quote Originally Posted by MWCGuy View Post
    I still find myself shaking my head with the concept a large "Tornado Proof" Shelter. We need to respect the fact that nature is going to kill some of us no matter what we do and no matter how many "Safety Measures" we apply. In the end, we are going to blow millions of dollars just to help a few people sleep better at night. In 5,10, 25 or 50 years from now we are still going to be mourning the loss of lives lost in a shelter we thought would stand up to the destructive winds of a tornado. At that point we will just be out of the money that could have been used to enhance warning systems, possibly create personal protective gear and teach everyone first aid and how to control yourself in an emergency. Very few people know what to do for themselves and for others when major injuries occur. Anymore I think more people die from panic then they do anything else.
    Yeah the biggest problem is that money wont be spent on any of that socialist nonsense you just said. The state would rather just get rid of those socialist taxes that would provide revenue to build tornado shelter's in schools. That money belongs in businesses pockets not being spent to protect kids at school. Now if that money would be spent on the stuff you just then it would make at least some sense. Especially the warning systems but wouldn't that mean the state invest more money education or at least provide money for research grants at University's.

    But you are right about large tornado shelter's I would rather trust reinforced closets in every classroom or several smaller shelter's (or even better a basement that's entirely under ground) than trusting an entire gym to with stand a direct from an F-3 or higher.

  18. #18

  19. #19

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Mary seems to be particularly unable to get programs she favors through the legislature this year.

  20. Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Mary is a lame duck it appears now. Sad because shelters are something the people want.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    So it failed in the House, then the House passed it, then the Senate killed it. Is there any f-ing thing going on inside the heads at the Capitol? Seriously, if it all fell in on them while they were in session, only a few neurons would be harmed, wow, this is about the most dysfunctional I've ever seen them.

  22. #22

  23. #23

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson backs initiative to fund storm shelters in Oklahoma schools | NewsOK.com

    When people in Oklahoma are willing to stand with Jesse Jackson on something, that thing must have a whole lot lot lot of support.

    I think if Jesse was in favor of executing someone, at least half the state would want to repeal the death penalty, just out of spite.

  24. #24

  25. #25

    Default Re: Oklahoma School Storm Shelters

    Saw this on the news a few days ago.
    Wheatland Celebrates 8th Grade National Champions

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