Tornado-Proof Monolithic Domes featured in New York Times

The Monolithic Dome was recently featured in The New York Times Dot Earth Blog in an article entitled, “Dome it! Schools Can Affordably Survive Tornadoes,” by Andrew Revkin. After Sunday’s spate of deadly tornadoes, Revkin says it is time to “think outside the box—and inside the dome.”

Revkin points out that Monolithic Dome Schools meet FEMA standards for community tornado shelters and can provide safe haven for residents as well as students and teachers. “A growing number of school districts in tornado or hurricane hot spots, many with grants from FEMA have chosen this option,” he says.

Revkin quotes Harold Brooks in his article as saying that only about 10 percent of tornadoes occur during school hours. That may be the case, but whenever the storms rage in tornado alley during school hours, students and teachers trapped in schools that are not built to withstand tornado-speed winds, suffer from anxiety and fear. The benefit of having a strong, secure environment for learning that is also a safe-haven even in the worst of weather is immeasurable. Further, these schools can be community tornado shelters that are available for anyone to use 100 percent of the time.

Highlighted in the story are photos of a beautiful Monolithic Dome currently being used as an elementary school cafeteria, doubling as a tornado shelter in Dale, Oklahoma. The shelter/cafeteria was designed by Michael McCoy with shell construction by South Industries of Idaho and Airform by Monolithic. This dome would remain intact and the people inside would be absolutely safe in contrast with the photo of the new intermediate school in Vilonia, Arkansas that sustained significant damage. Thankfully, nobody was in that building when the tornado struck.

Revkin wraps up his spot-on article by saying, “With my bias showing, the final word goes to David South of Monolithic Dome, in the form of a link to a Letter to all School Superintendents and Legislators that he posted last fall. Give it a read and send it to friends or relations or other contacts in Tornado Alley.”

The Monolithic Dome is hard to overlook with all of its outstanding benefits, safety being a major one. It’s time to think round.