University of Central Oklahoma prepares for severe weather in Edmond

The basements of nine campus buildings are the primary tornado shelters at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
By Sarah Hussain, For The Oklahoman Modified: May 28, 2014 at 11:25 am •  Published: May 28, 2014
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When international students arrive at the University of Central Oklahoma, they often express concern about taking up their studies in tornado alley.

The school’s international services and emergency management teams work together during orientation to ease the stress.

“UCO provides severe weather areas for UCO faculty, students and staff and those engaged in campus activities at the time of severe weather,” said Norman Nieves, emergency management director. “That means if you’re on campus and we have severe weather, we have certain areas you can go to to seek refuge.”

Lonneke van Dam, a student from the Netherlands, said she still worries about what to do if she is off campus but knows what to do if she is on campus in the event of severe weather.

“First thing when you come here, they tell you what to do when a tornado comes, but they only explain what to do when you’re on campus,” van Dam said. “I know when I’m in my building, I know to go to the library, because my building does not have a storm shelter.”

UCO has nine primary severe weather shelter areas on campus: the basements of the Nigh University Center, Thatcher Hall, Liberal Arts building, Max Chambers Library, Communications building, Murdaugh Hall, Art and Design building, Howell Hall and Central Plaza.