OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Safe rooms would be required in new school buildings under a measure approved by the Oklahoma City Council, overriding a recommendation by a building code commission that wanted such decisions left up to school boards.
The 8-1 vote will require a new school building to have tornado-resistant spaces with at least enough room to protect the number of children and teachers for which the building was designed, The Oklahoman reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/Mu2zqV ).
The change to the city’s building code takes effect May 1.
A severe storm task force last year recommended that the city get feedback on the idea of requiring safe rooms in new school construction in Oklahoma City.
Mayor Mick Cornett formed the task force after violent storms in May killed nearly 50 people, including seven children at an elementary school in Moore.
The task force recommendation was forwarded to the Building Code Commission, which met twice to discuss it. In a meeting Nov. 12, the commission decided against recommending that safe rooms be required.
Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner cast the dissenting vote Tuesday.
“I agree with the Building Code Commission,” Greiner said. “They wrote that it is their opinion that new schools should have safe rooms, but it should be the governing body of the school that makes that decision.”
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com