Where the past meets cutting-edge technology
Caledonia’s website proudly says that it has 33 homes on the National Historic Register, and its mayor states that visiting this “village” is like “stepping back in time – a 100 years back in time.”
While all that is true, Caledonia also has five of the most modern structures available today: five Monolithic Domes.
The first three
In 2000, this community, whose history dates back to 1819 and whose population is less than 200, approved a bond for the construction of three domes: two with classrooms and a gymnasium/multipurpose dome with a portable stage. By 2008, all three were serving Caledonia’s 500 students, most of whom live in a rural area of 197 square miles.
But getting that bond approved wasn’t easy. School administrators waged a campaign to convince voters of the need for new school structures and the advantages of making those structures Monolithic Domes. Their efforts paid. Superintendent Larry Graves (now retired) said, “Being on the cutting edge of something this revolutionary appealed to them, and they began getting excited.” Since then, those first three domes have proved their worth.
Through its Department of Natural Resources, Missouri has a program whose purpose is to “provide low interest loans to fund energy efficiency improvements in the public sector.” Those eligible for these loans include public school districts – particularly if they are in rural, low income areas.
Superintendent Steve Yount said, “On our original three domes, we got an energy loan of $100,000, and we are going to make our last payment on that this month (January 2010).”
The two new domes
In 2009, South Industries of Menan, Idaho began construction on Caledonia’s two additional Monolithic Domes. Superintendent Yount said, "They are 90 feet in diameter and they are to house 115 students in Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade. One of the domes will have a big library/media center/computer lab and three classrooms. The other will have all classrooms.
“Everything went very, very well. We’re ahead of schedule and under budget and that doesn’t happen very often.”