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Church of Christ: Built by Enthusiasm

Image: Church of Christ — Built in 1996 in Salina, Kansas, this Monolithic Dome church has a diameter of 110 feet and a height of 40 feet.

Church of Christ — Built in 1996 in Salina, Kansas, this Monolithic Dome church has a diameter of 110 feet and a height of 40 feet.


Image: Acoustic Panels — They absorb unwanted echoes and provide a decorative touch.
Image: Sanctuary — The sanctuary was furnished with seating for 450 and the potential to expand to 1,000.
Image: Invaluble Help — Volunteer labor significantly contributed to the completion of this church. At the open house in April 1997, not one negative comment was heard.

A big decision

In 1992, Jimmie Keas, the Minister at Church of Christ in Salina, Kansas, and the congregation made a big decision.

“It became obvious that we were outgrowing our existing, conventional building on our three-acre site,” Minister Keas said. But rather than knock down their standing structure and rebuild, Church of Christ sold that three-acre sight and purchased fifteen acres, in a commercial area, that included an old motel.

They then began researching various building designs and came across information on Monolithic Domes, that immediately sparked their interest. Keas said, “We sent a building committee of six to Italy, TX to see just what a Monolithic Dome looked like and we were very impressed.”

Stan McNally, a church elder and project coordinator, was part of that committee. He said, “A Monolithic Dome would give us what we wanted and needed. We did not want a facility we would quickly outgrow, so we purposely over built.”

Their Monolithic Dome

It has a diameter of 110 feet and a height of 40 feet. Its current seating capacity is 450 with a potential for 1000.

“We began work in March 1996,” McNally said, “and celebrated our first Christmas in the new sanctuary that same year.”

Minister Keas added, “Once we got started it went quickly.”

Invaluable volunteer labor

Work was completed within ten months, mostly with volunteer labor contributed by the church’s congregation of about 200. Keas said, “There was lots of enthusiasm – volunteer labor just was not a problem. I would say we had volunteer labor that, if you had to pay for, probably would cost about a quarter of a million.”

One of those volunteers was a church member who does electrical design work. McNally said, “We yielded to his experience and expertise. He suggested seventeen metal halide lights arranged in concentric circles along the ceiling cloud. We wanted brightness and that’s what we got.”

The ceiling cloud is actually a drop ceiling, hanging from the dome’s ceiling, at a height of thirty feet. It was suggested by the architect for echo absorption. But the cloud did not sufficiently control unwanted sound, so two-thirds of the wall space was covered with Tectum.

McNally explained, “These are 15 1/2” squares, 3" thick that look like spaghetti poured on a board – but they’re attractive. We arranged eight blocks of these in a diamond pattern. It looks nice and the acoustics are much improved."

In April 1997 the interior was completed and an open house with a “Bring Your Neighbor” service was held. “More than a thousand people showed up and toured and asked questions. I did not hear one negative comment,” the Minister said.

Note: Article originally published in Monolithic’s Winter 1998 Roundup.