Woodsboro Wins $1.5 Million FEMA Grant to Build Safe Dome School

The city of Woodsboro is receiving a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund construction of a Monolithic Dome school gymnasium/community center that will double as a county disaster shelter. Woodsboro is located near the Texas Gulf Coast and has sustained damage from Hurricane Ike and other severe storms.

It is the second community in recent months to receive a FEMA grant to build a dome school structure. Niangua R-V School District in Missouri completed a Monolithic Dome preschool building in March that was funded by a $300,000 FEMA grant. The school buildings qualified for the grant money because Monolithic Domes meet FEMA standards for near-absolute protection from tornadoes and hurricanes.

“We have witnessed so many times how many people are unable to evacuate during hurricanes and at times have nowhere to go for shelter, U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa said in announcing the Woodsboro grant. “I am very pleased to see the residents of Woodsboro and the surrounding area will have a safe place to take their families.”

The dome, which will be built by Italy-based Monolithic Constructors, Inc., will measure 20,000 square feet and serve as a multipurpose facility that seats 938 people. “We are very excited about this new facility, which will not only serve as the district’s gymnasium, but also will host band programs, graduation ceremonies and community events,” Self said. “In addition, we’ll have the benefit of using it as a shelter for our elementary school students and others who have no safe place to go when bad weather strikes.”

The construction of the Monolithic Dome multipurpose facility is the final phase of the Woodsboro ISD’s capital improvement program funded by a $9.9 million school bond issue passed in 2005. Superintendent Self said the school opted for Monolithic Dome construction because it provided the most value for the money.
David South, president of Monolithic, said the “green” features of the building are a big selling point for many school districts. “The energy savings along will usually pay for the total cost of the structure within the first 20 years,” he said. “They also are very durable structures. Properly maintained, they will last for centuries.”

Monolithic Dome schools have been built in Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida, Idaho, and Minnesota. Several new Monolithic Dome schools are currently under construction in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

Click here to read more about the Woodsboro project.