One of every parent's worst nightmares came true on May 20 this year in Moore, Okla. when two elementary schools — the Briarwood and Plaza Towers schools — were destroyed by a tornado that ripped through the town. Seven third graders perished after being crushed by debris that day. Neither of the schools had weather-safe rooms for the students and faculty to go to.
One school in Sweetwater is prepared for such disasters and other that may occur. When the new Sweetwater Christian School was built in 2010, board members wanted to assure the safety of the students and teachers at the school and built into the school a safe room. The safe room is large enough for all students and teachers," said Sweetwater Christian School Director Tracy Young.
The all steel room was built by Gomez Construction Company. The room is 14'11'' by 13'1' and is built out of six inch steel eye beams and faced with solid steel plates around the walls and ceiling. The beams were concreted into the foundation for extra safety. The safe room also has solid steel doors with one lock and three dead bolts each. The door frames are welded into the steel frame and beams. "It is actually a room within a room," said Young.
The room also has a ventilation system that is filtered so no outside air can come into the room.
"The cost for the room was expensive, but the members of the board and building committee felt that it was money well spent because Sweetwater Christian School not only believes education is important for children, but safety is also a top priority," said Young.
The Sweetwater Christian School facility was made possible by a generous monetary donation made by Cyrus Dale McCreight.