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Locust Grove, Oklahoma: Sold on Monolithic Domes

Image: Locust Grove, Oklahoma is a small community with just 1,200 residents. But in 2007, they passed a bond to add Monolithic Domes to their campus.

Locust Grove, Oklahoma is a small community with just 1,200 residents. But in 2007, they passed a bond to add Monolithic Domes to their campus. (L & L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: This Monolithic Dome arena, designed by Architect Lee Gray of Salt Lake City, Utah, has a diameter of 148’, a height of 51’ and seating for 1,409 spectators.

This Monolithic Dome arena, designed by Architect Lee Gray of Salt Lake City, Utah, has a diameter of 148’, a height of 51’ and seating for 1,409 spectators. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: School Superintendent David Cash said that they get many compliments from visitors to their campus.

School Superintendent David Cash said that they get many compliments from visitors to their campus. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: This Monolithic Dome arena has an important second purpose: to shelter and protect the community when tornadoes strike.

This Monolithic Dome arena has an important second purpose: to shelter and protect the community when tornadoes strike. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Locust Grove is in tornado alley. The community chose Monolithic Domes because of the domes’ ability to withstand a tornado.

Locust Grove is in tornado alley. The community chose Monolithic Domes because of the domes’ ability to withstand a tornado. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: The school’s basketball team, the Pirates, love playing in their new dome arena. Superintendent Cash said, “It’s definitely my favorite gym in which to watch a game.”

The school’s basketball team, the Pirates, love playing in their new dome arena. Superintendent Cash said, “It’s definitely my favorite gym in which to watch a game.” (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: The dome’s interior is designed to take advantage of all available space, but maintain a clean, streamlined look.

The dome’s interior is designed to take advantage of all available space, but maintain a clean, streamlined look. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Since it’s the designated Community Tornado Shelter, keys to the school’s dome are maintained by the superintendent and the police chief.

Since it’s the designated Community Tornado Shelter, keys to the school’s dome are maintained by the superintendent and the police chief. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: In 2011, Locust Grove began constructing their new elementary school. For that project, Lee Gray designed five, interconnected Monolithic Domes.

In 2011, Locust Grove began constructing their new elementary school. For that project, Lee Gray designed five, interconnected Monolithic Domes. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Superintendent Cash said, “For this school, the most important factors were safety and security. Mr. Gray’s design gives us five separate buildings, with classrooms, that are all under one roof. You can go from one to another without going outdoors. Once you enter through any of the doors, you are in. But the doors have no hardware on the outside, so you can’t just go up and enter.”

Superintendent Cash said, “For this school, the most important factors were safety and security. Mr. Gray’s design gives us five separate buildings, with classrooms, that are all under one roof. You can go from one to another without going outdoors. Once you enter through any of the doors, you are in. But the doors have no hardware on the outside, so you can’t just go up and enter.” (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: The U.S. Department of Education approved a Stimulus Grant which Locust Grove used to construct its elementary school.

The U.S. Department of Education approved a Stimulus Grant which Locust Grove used to construct its elementary school. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: To qualify for a Stimulus Grant from our Department of Education, a school must meet rigid criteria. The structures must be highly energy efficient and unique.

To qualify for a Stimulus Grant from our Department of Education, a school must meet rigid criteria. The structures must be highly energy efficient and unique. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: According to Superintendent Cash, the school has kept track of its energy use. He said, “Right now, we’re saving an average of about $2,000 per month on utilities.”

According to Superintendent Cash, the school has kept track of its energy use. He said, “Right now, we’re saving an average of about $2,000 per month on utilities.” (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: On March 5, 2013, the residents of Locust Grove went to the polls again. They voted for and passed a bond that will be used to build a new high school.

On March 5, 2013, the residents of Locust Grove went to the polls again. They voted for and passed a bond that will be used to build a new high school. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Locust Grove’s new high school will also be a Monolithic Dome designed by Lee Gray.

Locust Grove’s new high school will also be a Monolithic Dome designed by Lee Gray. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: The school bond proposal was for $6.5 million. But the actual amount, as posted on the March 5 ballot, was $9,470,000. Of that total, $6.5 million will cover construction and the remainder will cover interest.

The school bond proposal was for $6.5 million. But the actual amount, as posted on the March 5 ballot, was $9,470,000. Of that total, $6.5 million will cover construction and the remainder will cover interest. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: In addition to money amounts, the bond proposal specified that the new structure would be a Monolithic Dome.

In addition to money amounts, the bond proposal specified that the new structure would be a Monolithic Dome. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: The bond proposal read, “There are many reasons to use domes in your construction projects. The first is cost. It’s 37% cheaper to build a facility using monolithic domes as opposed to conventional construction. When building the new Early Learning Center, it would have cost 3 million more to build a traditional building.”

The bond proposal read, “There are many reasons to use domes in your construction projects. The first is cost. It’s 37% cheaper to build a facility using monolithic domes as opposed to conventional construction. When building the new Early Learning Center, it would have cost 3 million more to build a traditional building.” (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Safety, low energy consumption and efficiency were given as three additional reasons for going Monolithic.

Safety, low energy consumption and efficiency were given as three additional reasons for going Monolithic. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Monolithic Domes are FEMA 361 Certified and can withstand a direct hit from a tornado.

Monolithic Domes are FEMA 361 Certified and can withstand a direct hit from a tornado. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Superintendent Cash said, “I think eventually this (Monolithic) is really going to catch on because of what we’re seeing. What I’ve seen for conventional construction is that its beginning point is about $140 per square foot. We did the elementary school at $100/sq ft. So not only is it the safest and most energy efficient, it’s cheaper to construct.”

Superintendent Cash said, “I think eventually this (Monolithic) is really going to catch on because of what we’re seeing. What I’ve seen for conventional construction is that its beginning point is about $140 per square foot. We did the elementary school at $100/sq ft. So not only is it the safest and most energy efficient, it’s cheaper to construct.” (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: When the School Board asked about conventional construction, Mr. Cash replied, “I will entertain anything. If you can build it for $100/sq ft and it’s energy efficient and safe, I’m for it. Right now, there’s only one kind of construction that does that and that’s Monolithic, so why not stick with it?”

When the School Board asked about conventional construction, Mr. Cash replied, “I will entertain anything. If you can build it for $100/sq ft and it’s energy efficient and safe, I’m for it. Right now, there’s only one kind of construction that does that and that’s Monolithic, so why not stick with it?” (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: When school administrators at Locust Grove first began thinking about building Monolithic Domes, they traveled to Beggs, OK to inspect the domes at that school.

When school administrators at Locust Grove first began thinking about building Monolithic Domes, they traveled to Beggs, OK to inspect the domes at that school. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)

Image: Locust Grove, Oklahoma now has a lovely, safe, affordable campus of Monolithic Domes.

Locust Grove, Oklahoma now has a lovely, safe, affordable campus of Monolithic Domes. (L&L Photography, Locust Grove, Oklahoma)