Topeka Public Schools prepare for severe weather season

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Topeka Public School District is working to make sure all students are safe as we enter severe weather season, and it’s using money from a bond approved by voters in 2014 to do that.

“To protect our kids. It’s very, very important that we have those to protect our students and staff,” said Ron Brown, Chief of Police for Topeka Public Schools.

Right now some schools don’t have a centrally located shelter, where all students can fit.

They’re often spread throughout the building.

That’s why the district is putting $42 million of a voter approved bond towards creating FEMA approved shelters at many of those schools.

“It’s reinforced concrete, it’s reinforced. It is capable of sustaining very high winds in the event of an emergency. Also that debris that’s blowing around it’s going to better protect our children in that case,” said Brown.

So if those tornado sirens sound, you can rest assured your kids will have a safe place to go.

“When we look at situations like in Joplin, Missouri or in Moore, Oklahoma, we understand that having a good solid structure for our children to be in, in the event of a tornado is imperative,” said Brown.

The safety improvements go beyond just building FEMA approved storm shelters though. For example chain link fences will be built around the perimeter of each school, and there’s more.

“About $5 million of that was set aside for lighting to help better light schools in the evening, and during the night period. We also spent money on bullet resistant glass for all of the foyers. Panic buttons. We’ve spent money on additional training for our folks,” said Brown.

Brown is grateful voters approved the bond. He says all the improvements will help achieve his one main mission.

“Our children will be safer when they’re at school each and every day,” said Brown.

The district is about half finished with scheduled bond projects.

KSNT News is told the remaining projects should be completed in the next year and a half.

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