By: Sharon Aron Baron
A Utah-based company is donating $3 million in bulletproof shelters to Marjory Stoneman High School through a Parkland nonprofit organization.
When local organization Secure Our Schools or SOS Parkland, met with Shelter-in-Place, which builds bulletproof and tornado resistant classrooms, Executive Director Bo Landy had no idea that the company would make such a large donation to the school.
“I’m extraordinarily appreciative and grateful for their amazing offer and to their dedication to school safety around the country,” he said.
Shelter-in-Place was founded by CEO James Haslam after the deadly shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, then only a few months later, after a deadly tornado hit an elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma.
Landy said the company estimates the cost will be around $1,000 – $1,300 per student.
“It’s not like a certain number of shelters, or size,” he said. “They’ll have to measure out what is needed to give proper coverage in the school. That is what they are agreeing to donate.”
Each classroom will have a different size shelter in it. The shelters are all custom-built and can be any size as long as they are in 18-inch sections. Shelter-in-Place also has estimates as to how many people can fit inside a shelter depending on whether they are in elementary, middle or high school.
The shelters will have an air filtration system, camera monitoring system, and made with ballistic steel (American-made) that will withstand an active shooter situation, flying debris and shrapnel. The shelters have been structurally tested to withstand bullets from assault rifles and hurricane 5 force winds.
This is a first step said Landy. Next, they need to make sure the shelters meet school board building codes which are required, as well as safety codes since they will have locks inside of them. One of the concerns is if current classrooms have enough space for the new shelters. One option he discussed, was having a shelter for common areas such as the gymnasium and hallways, courtyard, media center and cafeteria. Another possibility is to install ballistic shielding on sections of wall within the classrooms and to replace the standard windows and doors with ballistic versions.
“If you have ballistically shielded walls, and you have a ballistic door and window that can’t be breached, then really the entire room becomes the shelter.”
As far as a timeline, Landy said there have not been any discussions with the manufacturer, but with any custom-built item, it’s not something that will happen instantly.
“We do know that we want every safety measure put in as soon as humanely possible and the people at Shelter-in-Place are keenly aware of that.”
Interested in Joining SOS Parkland? Get on their mailing list for information for information about their next meeting here SOSparkland.org SOS Parkland is a nonpartisan group.