dome building

The student activity center at Dodge City Community College. (Dodge City Community College)

College upgrades gymnasium to Monolithic Dome

A Monolithic Dome was the perfect fit for one community college in Kansas.

Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas needed a new activity center. Their previous gymnasium had several deficiencies and needed to be upgraded. There was no seating in that building, among other problems.

A Monolithic Dome became a reality after learning FEMA would help with funding. Officials took a visit to Fowler, Kansas where a dome is used as a gymnasium. The Dodge City Community College Foundation took the initiative for the center and financing was secured through the city.

The new center is a step up for the college and serves as the campus wellness center. Amenities include basketball and volleyball courts, jogging track, locker rooms, classrooms, practice courts, ticket office, and concession stand. Best of all, bleachers in the gym provide seating for up to 1,500 spectators.

Construction started in 2014 and was completed in September 2016, making it a 16 month project. The dome has a diameter of 170 feet, giving the structure 39,220 square feet of usable space. The total cost of the project was $7.6 million. South Industries built built the Monolithic Dome. Building Solutions L.L.C. served as the general contractor and completed the rest of the structure.

Not only serving as the activity center, it also doubles as a FEMA-approved community shelter in the event of a storm. Recently the center was able to live up to its use as a community storm shelter. During the ice storm that affected the central United States in January 2017, many residents were without power for several days. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the National Guard came to the center and set up operations.

Brian Marshall, CEO of Building Solutions, stated that these organizations “set up and used it as a shelter. People without electricity were allowed to come in, take a shower, and have a place.” This is the first opportunity for the center to be used as a community storm shelter since it was built.

To help others looking to build a similar building and for public curiosity, Dodge City officials have tentatively scheduled an open house for June. “We’ve had quite a bit of interest here,” Marshall said. “So hopefully more like this will be built.”

Founded in 1935, Dodge City Community College (often referred to as DC3) currently has 2,100 students enrolled. Those students are served with approximately 32 academic programs and 17 athletic programs.

Enjoy the video below from Building Solutions, which shows the process of construction.

Related Links

Outer wall construction

Construction on the outer wall of the building. (Building Solutions LLC)

Interior construction

The interior of the dome during construction. (Building Solutions LLC)

Airform inflation

The interior of the dome during the airform inflation (Building Solutions LLC)