The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

March 12, 2014

Waukomis, Fairview get Shelter Oklahoma Schools grants

ENID, Okla. — Two area schools’ initiatives to protect students in the event of a tornado got boosts this week from Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

Nancy Anthony, foundation president, sent a letter to Waukomis Public Schools Superintendent Dale Bledsoe notifying him that the district has been selected for a $100,000 Shelter Oklahoma Schools grant.

The grant program was created after the May 2013 tornado that killed 24 people in Oklahoma City and suburban Moore, striking two schools. At Moore’s Plaza Towers Elementary School, seven students were killed. Briarwood Elementary School also was heavily damaged.

“There’s a lot of things we can’t prevent, but with good planning hopefully we can protect our children,” Bledsoe said.

Waukomis voters in October approved to a $2.49 million bond issue for construction of a community storm shelter and physical education facility.

“The bond was for $2.5 million, with $1.5 million targeted for the shelter,” Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe said the district plans a 114-foot diameter monolithic dome that will be 32-feet tall and house up to 600 people. If all goes as expected, construction will begin in September and the shelter will be completed within 15 months.

“The plan is to build it just west of the elementary school,” Bledsoe said.

Anthony’s letter reads that once construction has begun, the foundation will send $50,000 — half the grant.

“At mid-construction, you will receive the next 25 percent and the final 25 percent will come at the confirmed completion of the project,” Anthony’s letter reads.

Fairview Public Schools also got a $100,000 grant from the foundation. Fairview voters in September approved a $335,000 bond question for construction of a safe room storm shelter at Chamberlain Middle School.

Superintendent Rocky Burchfield said the groundwork already is completed and the foundation is laid for the above-ground shelter to hold 278 people east of the middle school gym. It could be completed as early as mid-April, Burchfield said.

Drummond Public Schools earlier got a $100,000 Shelter Oklahoma Schools grant.

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