, Muskogee, OK

September 4, 2013

Safe room plan has merit

— Muskogee Public Schools’ plan to determine whether new buildings in the district can have safe rooms combines public safety and fiscal responsibility.

Architect Mike Martin said safe rooms will be included as bid alternates for new school buildings funded by a $47.5 million bond issue voters approved last May.

Martin, who is working with MPS on bond issue projects, said the new buildings are:

• A science and math classroom and lab building at Alice Robertson Junior High.

• A vocational/agricultural building at Muskogee High School.

• An athletic training and locker facility at MHS.

• A building for the MPS Regimented School at Rougher Alternative Academy.

The buildings could be used as safe rooms, which protect students and staff from disastrous weather conditions such as tornados.

MPS Facilities and Maintenance Director Wayne Johnson said the district is preparing specifications for the building bids and will include the safe rooms as alternates.

“An alternate is a choice we can do if funding is available,” Johnson said, adding that the district will advertise for bids in mid-September and open the sealed bids 20 days after they’re advertised.

Tony Goetz Elementary has a computer lab that can double as a safe room.

That’s the goal of this plan — to build rooms strong enough to withstand tornados, large enough for students and staff, and have a dual purpose.

Our children’s safety is of utmost importance.

The plan keeps funding within the constraints of the bond issue and could keep our children safe.