Marlow Elementary went to load its buses twice before students were finally able to leave Monday.
Rotation nearing the city made it impossible for students to leave initially, and the school enacted its inclement weather procedures to ensure the safety of its students. Assistant Principal John Smith said the procedures were performed well by students and faculty members.
“It went very well,” Smith said. “We’ve had drills, and they did what they were supposed to do.”
Elementary students and faculty had moved into smaller rooms without windows that are on the interior of the school buildings. He said the goal was to use smaller rooms because they often provide more stable construction.
Although students did remain at the school a while after they were supposed to leave, buses began running about 10 minutes before 4 p.m. Monday. Smith said the school district, along with all the administrators, were watching the weather to make sure the severe weather had moved passed the school district.
“We had several parents come to pick them up,” Smith said. “The office staff kept things orderly.”
The lack of traditional safe rooms does speak for the age of the elementary buildings, Smith said. While the Marlow Middle School was built with an entire section (sixth grade classrooms) of the building underground, some of the safety concerns didn’t exist when the Marlow Elementary was constructed.
He said the new wing of the Marlow Elementary will respond to such concerns by adding several safe rooms.
“I will brag on our new school we’re building,” Smith said. “The building’s interior will be safe rooms. And they’ll be able to withstand an F-5 tornado.”
He said the safe rooms will be able to hold up to 1,700 people, which would be enough room to include the entire Marlow School District.
“If we have 35 to 40 minutes advance warning, we can get them in,” Smith said.