“Dome fever has spread to the Sooner State!” says Bill Kramer in the Oklahoman’s article, Tech classes in Yukon promote dome construction for homes, schools, published on NewsOK.com. Monolithic domes have gained popularity in recent years. In fact, domes are in use by eight rural school districts around the state, including Beggs, Buffalo, Texhoma, Dale, Dibble and Geronimo.
Another such dome is the Hinton Coliseum, opened in 2006 at a cost of $3.75 million. Kramer reports that the coliseum is a 148-foot-diameter dome with a height of 50 feet, holding 1,400 basketball spectators. He says the capacity of the dome doubles when used as a shelter. This means that if a tornado strikes the town of Hinton, all 2,200 residents can take shelter in the dome.
Kramer claims the Locust Grove school district is probably Oklahoma’s best dome success story. Interconnected monolithic domes comprise Locust Grove’s elementary and high school, with the high school gym doubling as the community’s storm shelter. Initial construction cost savings, energy savings and tornado resistance are reasons Superintendent David Cash prefers domes over conventional buildings.
Recently, NewsChannel 4 featured monolithic domes and their growing popularity in a news report hosted on their website, KFOR.com, with the associated article, Dome shaped buildings gaining ground in Oklahoma, considered tornado proof, by Ashley Kringen. Monolithic domes are now being used as safe houses, according to Kringen. She says, “From a distance, they looks like a backyard playhouse or a cute round cottage, but if you think beyond the box, there’s more to it.”
Kringen highlights a concrete monolithic dome the El Reno family uses as a storm shelter. She interviewed monolithic dome-builder, Verlin Fairchild, who explains that the curves of the dome are one of the main reasons the domes are tornado-resistant. “A compound structure splits the wind around it, so when you have an extremely strong wind splitter, it doesn’t care about 250-300 mile an hour winds,” Fairchild claims.
A 1981 Canadian Valley graduate in architectural and mechanical drafting and design, Fairchild sees beauty “outside the box,” according to Kramer. Fairchild is convinced the possibilities are endless for monolithic domes. He sees “Dome homes. Dome schools. Dome businesses. Dome shelters. Dome gardens. Dome sweet dome.”
“It’s the way of the future for humanity, not just Oklahoma,” Fairchild said, in the Oklahoman.
Fairchild is not just a dome-builder, he is an educator as well and teaches an introductory monolithic dome construction class at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Holt Campus, says Kramer. He hopes to spread education and awareness so that domes can save lives.
The very thing that makes domes virtually tornado-proof is the reason monolithic domes have had trouble gaining acceptance, Fairchild told Kramer. “People do not know their possibilities with a dome,” he said. “This is a different concept than a wood frame house. Domes are lower in maintenance costs and offer greater energy-efficiency.”
According to Fairchild, his classes provide the knowledge for monolithic dome projects of all sizes and small tornado shelters are the popular choice right now. Classes began in August, but more are scheduled to be offered through October. To register, go to www.cvtech.edu