The Pryor Times


November 13, 2013

Petition circulating to fund storm shelters

PRYOR, OK — An initiative petition is circulating the state like the tornado that spawed it.

An effort to collect 160,000 signatures by mid-December is underway. It’s success could end up on a future ballot to allow voters to decide whether or not to fund the construction of storm shelters as well as provide enhanced security. The $500,000 million bond would be paid by an existing tax.

The measure would affect schools and technology centers.

Dr. Paul Mobley is a supporter of the petition. Disaster has hit close to home. Twice.

Mobley’s brother-in-law is a retired educator in the Moore area. His home was completely wiped away in the 1999 Moore tornado. This time around, he held watch, snapping a close-up photo of the approaching tornado that spared his home, but destroyed two elementary schools.

In Pryor, with the recent completion of a new school for Roosevelt Elementary, Mobley said Superintendent Don Raleigh was forward-thinking on the project.

“Those safe rooms in the school were a part of the design early on, well before the tornado that hit Moore in May,” Mobley said.

Raleigh said that while the two rooms located at Roosevelt do not meet Federal Emergency Management Agency standards, they were storm conscious.

“Both pods have a room constructed with 12.5-inch concrete,” Raleigh said, adding it made sense to include the rooms as part of the original plans for the new school.

With news of school violence escalating, the bond would also allow for safety upgrades. Raleigh has already been implementing changes regarding safety.

“We’ve secured the vestibules in the high school and the junior high,” Raleigh said, adding that it is planned for all of Pryor’s school facilities to have secured entrances.

“We have taken steps to ensure the safety of our students,” he said.

For more information on the petition, log

onto www.TakeShelter or email Mobley

at paulandjoymobley

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