Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Moore City Manager Eddy: Storm Shelters in Public Schools too “Costly”

Following the horrific aftermath of the EF-5 tornado last month, the second to hit the town in the past 14 years, the necessity for providing adequate storm protection in public schools and community shelters should be obvious, but as the ongoing debate in Moore city government proves, students could continue to be at risk for some time to come. 
The majority of the debate seems to be raging on the topic of the site for the reconstruction of Park Plaza Elementary and Mayor Lewis’ campaign to require new home construction to include storm shelters, but other than  School Superintendent Pierce’s expressing that she is “hopeful” that a saferoom will be included in the  construction of the new school, there are no guarantees from the city government. There are no state requirements for storm shelters in schools and public buildings, and state emergency managers do not even track which schools are unprotected. 
In a radio interview with NPR, when asked about safe rooms being required for schools, City Manager Steve Eddy replied, “Lives, you can't count the cost or the value of lives, but you can count the cost of construction. It adds a significant amount of cost to construction. The taxpayers would have to determine whether they're going to pay that or not.” The City of Moore had no qualms in allocating over $700,000 in corporate tax incentives to Target and IMAX theaters in 2012. Let’s hope the City considers children’s lives more valuable than corporate kickbacks, or the price could be much higher when the next storm hits.

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