Aline-Cleo Elementary celebrates new safe room with News 9 storm trackerCLEO SPRINGS, Okla. (May 7, 2015) – More than 80 Aline-Cleo Elementary School students, grades Pre-K through Sixth, gathered in the school’s gymnasium today to celebrate its new safe room. Oklahoma City’s News 9 storm tracker Marty Logan gave a severe weather safety presentation to students as part of the assembly.
Logan, a retired lieutenant from the Woodward, Okla., Fire Department has been tracking storms for News 9 for more than 20 years. He instructed students about safety related to floods, lightning, tornadoes and shelter and quickly gathered their attention talking about the previous night’s storms.
“I spoke to a group of second grade students yesterday morning and told them they better pay close attention to what I had to say because there would be tornadoes later that night, and there was a tornado last night not too far fromhere,” Logan said. “I want you to pay close attention today because there will be more tornadoes in the next couple days, and we want to keep you safe.”
The Gas Processors Association’s (GPA) MidContinent Chapter donated $15,000 to make the safe room a reality for the school, with construction for the shelter originally scheduled for May or June. In late February, the school district learned of a pre-constructed safe room that could be transported from Joplin, Mo., to the Aline-Cleo school and would be available immediately.
The shelter was delivered to the school in mid-March and was one of 31 shelters originally built to protect children at temporary schools constructed in Joplin after an EF5 tornado destroyed or damaged 10 Joplin School District buildings in May 2011. The approximately 200 sq. ft. concrete and steel shelter features 8-inch thick walls and weighs about 70,000 pounds; it is made to withstand winds in excess of 250 miles per hour.
In early April, voters in the Aline-Cleo Public Schools District approved a bond issue that will help fund an additional safe room to provide a safe place for every student, teacher and staff person. Superintendent Barry Nault said the additional shelter will be in place before the start of the next school year.
“MidContinent GPA has been a strong financial supporter of educational institutions and their industry-related programs for several years, and last spring, our board of directors began investigating additional worthy causes that impact the people and communities within our industry,” said MidContinent GPA member Wayne Tate, Exterran. “One such cause highlighted every spring in Oklahoma is storm season. With the school tragedy in Moore, Okla., last year, the public has become even more aware of the vulnerability of our children while they are in school.
“There has been much talk about having safe rooms available in as many schools as possible, but the challenge is, as always, the cost in an environment where budgets are being stretched already. We organized a committee to identify communities in the operating areas of many GPA member plants/operations that met our list of criteria, which is how we chose Aline-Cleo. We are incredibly pleased to make this shelter a reality for the students and teachers.”
Contact: Crystal Myers, GPA
(918) 607-3655 cell
Additional photos available