What started out as an afterthought is now a conference center hosting thousands a year.
Forecasts predicted Hurricane Michael would land in Panama City as a strong, but still manageable, Category 3 hurricane. Employees of the Humane Society of Bay County — along with their families, friends, cats, and dogs — spent the day preparing to ride out the hurricane under the protection of their Monolithic Dome. As everyone settled in for the night, no one expected anything too severe. Then Hurricane Michael intensified into the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle.
Facing west toward the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs provides a dramatic foreground thanks to its royal blue sports field and the dome structure situated nearby. The 20,000-square foot Monolithic Dome houses twelve classrooms and two science labs for the school’s 215 seventh and eighth graders. “It looks cool,” says student Ciera. “A lot of people see it and wonder what that thing is and I get to tell them it’s the junior high building!”
I was not a bit afraid during Hurricane Michael. A South Florida newspaper said there were sustained winds of 185+ mph and gusts of 201 mph. I believe that as I watched the neighbor house explode and saw trees twist and fly apart. Debris pounded the dome viciously. My hurricane windows were fractured but held so no rain entered.
Hurricane Michael smashed a power transformer into Margaret Clayton’s caterpillar shaped Monolithic Dome home. The home is a few miles southeast of Mexico Beach in Port Saint Joe, Florida. Clayton stayed in her home during the hurricane. Everything was going well — until her neighbor’s house exploded.
Hundreds of dome fans toured the Monolithic Dome Research Park on Saturday, October 20. After weeks of constant rain, the weather turned sunny, and it was a beautiful day. Even the with all the mud and standing water, people toured the offices, shops, and Bruco: The Texas Italian Caterpillar.
We haven’t reached any dome owners in the area hit by Hurricane Michael. The city manager of Panama City Beach, Florida, was on NPR this morning talking about the damage. He said his city fared okay, but the area around Mexico Beach — east of Panama City Beach — was devastated. Widespread power failures, destroyed cell towers, and damaged infrastructure is making communication difficult.
Years ago, a late night fire started next to a 10,000-ton urea storage in Channelview, Texas. It consumed three wood structures built against the Monolithic Dome. Over 300 gallons of transformer oil fueled the blaze. For an hour, strong winds blew the inferno directly over the dome.
There are so many domes around the Monolithic Dome Research Park that for the first time the Monolithic Dome Builders Workshop was held out-of-town — mostly. Over 20 students attended the Fall 2018 workshop. They built two, 20-foot diameter domes and one concrete-only Ecoshell in nearby Dawson, Texas.
Dome fan, Harry Maldonado, shared this video of his recent visit to a monolithic dome home in Colorado. We believe this home was constructed by Mert Hull near Colorado Springs.
A fertilizer blend plant in Winnsboro, Texas burned to the ground last week. The chemicals in the smoke prompted a half-mile evacuation of businesses and homes. Fortunately, no one was injured. The fire burned itself out overnight.