An ever increasing amount of rental properties are becoming available in Ardmore, and many of these come with an extremely important feature for residents of tornado alley — safe rooms.

President of Oklahoma Property Managers and CEO of Milestone Homes, LLC Lance Windel is responsible for many of these new homes, and he explained his motivation behind adding safe rooms.

“Almost everything I build now has a safe room next to it somehow,” Windel said. “The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency that finances some of my work made it a big point to have the safe rooms, so we started doing it for them. But then people liked it so much that I said let’s just do it as much as we can.”

Construction is currently underway for a safe room for the townhouses at Lakeshore Landing across from the Hickory Ridge Addition. Windel said that while the townhouses are already complete and are currently about 40 percent occupied, construction on the safe room fell a bit behind because of weather and engineering factors.

“It took a lot of engineering because it’s the first one we’ve ever built, so we’re running a bit behind,” Windel said. In addition to serving as a safe room, the building will also function as a community room for the townhouses.

“It’s going to be a multipurpose room with a projector and a sound system so you can have your kids’ birthday party or your meeting,” Windel said. “It’s just a big open room and anyone who lives there can use it.” This dual function was essential when thinking about budgetary concerns. 

“Building these safe rooms is a big expense,” Windel said. “But I wanted to have the community room anyway, and I thought if we could go ahead and fold it all into one thing, you can get some cost savings. That’s how we’re trying to mitigate the cost of it. Make it something else that you can get use out of. Don’t bury it out in the ground and only use it one time a year for two hours. If it can be something that gets used consistently, that makes much more sense.”

Another project just now getting started will be an apartment complex located at the corner of Monroe St. NW and D St. NW. The complex will have 86 units that will range in size from studio up to four bedrooms. These apartments will be part of a low income housing project. It will also feature a safe room with a “similar concept” to that at Lakeshore Landing.