Disaster Protection – Monolithic Domes are proven survivors of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and bullets. They meet or exceed all regional building codes and requirements. They also meet or exceed FEMA’s specifications for a structure to provide near-absolute protection against tornadoes and hurricanes.
Campuses with at least one Monolithic Dome structure drill their students to immediately head for the dome when an alarm sounds. Usually, that structure is a Monolithic Dome school gymnasium, used on a daily basis for sports activities.
Many communities have officially designated their Monolithic Dome school buildings as Disaster Shelters, and some have applied for and received Red Cross certification as such.
The nationally used Uniform Building Code categorizes structures based on their ability to resist fire. Type I and Type II structures, built primarily of noncombustibles, such as concrete, steel, metal and masonry are most fire-resistant and earn the highest grade. Monolithic Dome schools, built of concrete and steel, qualify for a Type II or better rating.
At its headquarters in Italy, Texas, Monolithic has conducted tests to prove that rifle and handgun bullets cannot penetrate a Monolithic Dome’s concrete. The survival of Monolithic Domes in war-torn areas has shown that the domes have a noteworthy ability to withstand explosives and open fire.
Monolithic Dome schools can be designed with restricted and efficiently monitored entry points and passageways.
Healthy Environment – Unlike wood, concrete does not attract termites, other insects and vermin. Concrete is also less likely to promote allergies.
A Monolithic Dome’s one-piece construction and air tightness prevent leaks and discourage the growth of rot, mold and mildew that can sicken students.
Construction Affordability – Monolithic Dome schools usually cost less to build than similarly sized and outfitted conventional structures. Reasons: Materials used in Monolithic Dome construction are superior in strength and durability but more affordable. Costly delays can usually be avoided since materials are generally available, and much of a Monolithic Dome’s construction process does not depend on good weather.
In Monolithic Dome construction, the larger the structure, the greater are the savings per square foot.
Since Type II Fire Resistance is a built-in quality—not an extra—of Monolithic Domes, similar-size conventional structures built to meet Type II specifications will definitely cost more.
Growing and expanding schools and school districts can construct the Monolithic Domes they need in phases or stages. Domes with classroom and administrative offices can come first, followed by gymnasiums, multipurpose buildings, libraries, etc.
Variety of Construction Programs – Monolithic offers several plans or programs for the construction of a school:
- Design/Construction Management/Build
Monolithics’s staff is experienced in working with public school districts as well as private, parochial and charter schools.
Monolithic can provide experienced, professional consultation to architects and engineers who are new to domes. Specific information and data is also available at www.monolithic.com and in printed form and CDs.
Construction Time – Once the Airform is inflated, most of the construction takes place inside the dome, unhampered by weather or darkness. Thus work can usually continue in rain, snow or sunshine, during the day or night, so costly delays can be avoided.
Modular Monolithic Dome School Buildings – Modular domes designed with classrooms or as gymnasiums, multipurpose, or administrative offices can be purchased or leased through Monolithic. A Catalog with descriptions and prices is available.
Energy Savings – Polyurethane foam sandwiched between a tough Airform and several inches of concrete converts the Monolithic Dome into a thermal battery and provides superior insulation. Consequently, it takes less energy to maintain a comfortable, healthy environment—regardless of the outdoor temperature and conditions—in a Monolithic Dome school.
Because they use less energy, the domes require less equipment for heating and cooling, and less maintenance, repair and replacement of that equipment.
Such savings accumulated in a bond account could equal the total cost of a facility in less than 20 years.
The DOE (Department of Energy) maintains an Energy Star Program that awards energy-conserving structures with an E-Star Rating. Monolithic Domes, with an insulation that is at least 50% better than code, have this rating.
Lower Insurance Premiums – Invulnerability to fire, natural disaster, mold, mildew and termites makes a Monolithic Dome school a low-risk structure and a candidate for more affordable insurance.
Structural Design Flexibility – A huge variety of dome sizes, shapes and configurations are available. A Monolithic Dome school can consist of just one, single-story structure, built with or without a stemwall. Or, the campus can encompass several, connected or unconnected domes, of various sizes, levels and uses. It could include domes with classrooms or offices, gymnasiums, arenas, theaters, multipurpose structures, etc.
Interior Design Flexibility – The inside of a Monolithic Dome is a clear-span interior, uninterrupted by supporting pillars or posts. Yet, the domes have an interior hanging strength that can support mezzanines, balconies, walkways, press boxes, galleries, score boards, or audio and video housing. Then too, moveable walls can be used inside the dome, so changing room configuration becomes relatively simple and inexpensive.
Classroom Domes – A Monolithic Dome’s clear interior invites radial designs. For example, a classroom dome can be planned with a library at its center and individual classrooms radiating off that core area. Such a design makes the library conveniently accessible to all and eliminates space-wasting hallways and corridors.
Gymnasium Domes – The hanging strength and open interior of a Monolithic Dome work exceedingly well for gymnasiums. They can be planned with authentic basketball floors, lockers, showers, bathrooms, concessions and offices and equipped with hanging score boards, press boxes and comfortable, retractable spectator seating. The Gladiator Coliseum at the Italy, Texas High School is just such a Monolithic Dome school gym. Each season, that school rents its gym to others for playoff games.
Multipurpose Domes – Many schools have Monolithic Dome structures that they use for various activities: drama, music, art, dances, assemblies, community events, etc. These domes can be designed with turntable, portable or retractable theatre stages, an orchestra pit and permanent or movable seating.
Longevity – The lifetime of Monolithic Domes is measured in centuries. Over the years as needs change, a Monolithic Dome school may need remodeling but not replacement.
Feasibility Study – It’s a practical first step. Commissioning a Feasibility Study, completed by Monolithic’s professional designers and engineers, gives school officials a realistic, preliminary program with sketches, design details and estimated costs. They can then decide to accept, reject or change their plans.