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Bixby church transforms youth room to state-of-the-art storm shelter

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 4/09/2013 5:23 pm Published: 4/09/2013 3:32 pm

Following any type of severe weather or even a tornado, a local church is ready to house hundreds of people who may need a safe place.

New Beginnings Baptist Church in Bixby has a storm shelter specifically designed to be a safe haven.

It’s a sound that is all too familiar across Oklahoma, the sound of a tornado siren. But it’s not just tornadoes we experience here. Back in December of 2007, Tulsa was hit with the worst ice storm we’ve ever seen. The weight of the rain, snow and wind, left 85% of Tulsa in darkness. Some people went weeks without power. Following that ice storm, New Beginnings decided to make a change.

Phil Sallee is the senior pastor of New Beginnings Baptist Church. When the church designed its new facility, part of it was to be underground making it the perfect place for a storm shelter.

"It's a good thing for our community and it's not something we want to have to do because it means that we've been through a disaster, but we do want to be able to provide relief,” says Sallee.

The shelter sits 14 feet below the church parking lot making it the perfect place to give people protection.

Mike Butler has been a member of this church since 2000. As a husband and a father, it gives him comfort to know his church is meeting a big need in this community.

"When you're giving your time and your finances to support a church, it's nice to see immediate benefits with the church providing facility’s like this,” says Butler.

If and when a disaster should occur, people will have a warm place to come after the storm where they can sleep and even get a hot shower if needed. The reason the shelter isn’t opened up before a storm is because the church does not want people driving out in severe weather.

The church is located at 151st off Memorial in Bixby.

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