The Spring Valley Tribune recently ran a story about Jerry Cleveland and his advocacy of the Monolithic Dome. Cleveland was instrumental in the construction of a K-12 school in Grand Meadow, Minnesota in 1998.
However, plans for the six-dome Grand Meadow kindergarten through 12fth grade school facility were initially met with skepticism when then-superintendent Bruce Klaehn heard his idea and pitched it to the school board.
“Bruce thought I was crazy, but he gave it to (board member) Polly Glynn, who took it home and put it on the counter,” said Cleveland. “Her kids saw it and thought it was cool…it took the most skeptical school board members about five minutes and then they were sold on it.”
Safety is often the main reason for schools to build today. This is especially true in the midwest where tornadoes are a big problem. However, it’s energy efficiency where schools benefit the most. Tornadoes happen once every decade or so. Energy savings help every month.
Cleveland explained that in spite of the high ceilings, the domes are actually so very much more energy efficient than a traditional building because they are made of a shell insulated with foam that holds heat or cool air in.
“They’ve saved almost $200,000 just in utility costs,” said Cleveland. “If they were still in the old building, that would have increased to $450,000 in utility bills by now.”