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Duke School students follow this ramp to "exit" the school building from the underground floor of classrooms. Virtually all of the school at Duke is underground and has been since the mid-1960s. The district's classrooms are on the lower underground floor while the upper above ground floor includes the school's gym and some other facilities.

Duke has underground school

DUKE  While many Oklahoma school districts are considering options to construct storm shelters, one area district has been operating almost all of its school underground for 50 years.

Duke Public Schools in Jackson County has been operating its lone campus as an "underground school" since 1964. Here, almost all of the school plant is underground .including all classrooms for grades pre-K-12, with the ground floor including the school's main office and gymnasium. The main part of the school is accessible three ways: the main entrance, which leads to the school's office, and two other entry points  one of which is handicapped accessible and meets requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Superientendent Kevin Cansler said this setup is easy for getting everyone to take cover when the need arises.

"Students up on the ground floor in the gym will be summoned to come down to the basement floor, while those in their classrooms will already be in place," he said.

Cansler, a 13-year employee of the district, said the school has not had to use its campus as a storm shelter during class in recent years, though it is prepared to do so.

The Lawton Constitution

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