New Winton Woods school gyms will double as storm shelters

Posted at 4:30 AM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 07:05:35-04

FOREST PARK, Ohio -- Later this year, construction will begin on the first of two brand new schools for Winton Woods City School District. But the project is facing a large, unexpected expense: storm shelters. 

The two high-tech schools will replace the district's six current buildings. The total cost is $108 million, with $3.2 million going to technology.

In the new buildings, the gyms will also be storm shelters.

"It has to hold every occupant in the building," said Steve Denny, the district executive director of business affairs said. "So everybody's got to be able to fit."

That's part of a new state building code requiring new schools to be built with storm shelters with 27-inch-thick walls that can withstand tornadic winds. Each shelter costs $1 million, which wasn't expected.

"The state has stepped in and said, 'OK, we're going to grant a new allowance to the project that's going to pay our share. But you local districts still have to come up with your share,'" Denny said. 

Ultimately, they'll have buildings that are high-tech and safe. 

Winton Woods schools will have public meetings Thursday to unveil renderings of the new school buildings and answer questions about the new required storm shelters.