Data: Few of Iowa’s public schools have safe rooms

Only a few dozen of Iowa’s 1,400 public school buildings include safe rooms designed to withstand severe tornadoes.

The Des Moines Register reports only 37 public school buildings have safe rooms, and most were built in the last five years. The data does not include storm shelters in older buildings.

Alabama is the only state that requires safe rooms in new schools. But the May 20 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, that destroyed two elementary schools and killed seven students has stirred new conversation among local Iowa leaders and parents about legislation that could change that.

But some argue that safe rooms are too costly for cash-strapped schools. Others wonder whether to equip every school for a tornado that may never come.