Tornado-proof, monolithic dome school being built in Geronimo - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Tornado-proof, monolithic dome school being built in Geronimo

Geronimo_A monolithic dome school is being built in Geronimo - the first of its kind for the United States.  The one piece structure's circular design gives the school more usable square footage and is tornado-proof.  The school district is expanding by 10% each year and the superintendent said that their current school housing K-12th grade is filled to capacity.  So, when the Geronimo School District began looking at plans for a new building, it was important to them to find one that could easily be expanded.

Geronimo is the first city in the nation to have a monolithic dome school, and it's a big honor for Geronimo School Superintendent Danny McCuiston.  "Anytime you have the opportunity to do a project of this magnitude in a small community, the community is behind it, the students are behind it, a project like this becomes a major economic development for the whole community," he says. 

The walls of the building will be filled with rebar and concrete 3-5" thick, certifying the future school of Geronimo High to be a tornado shelter.  "It's unique because of the opportunity it is to be a tornado shelter, to allow and to give to the school an opportunity to protect the community and the students in case of a tornado," says Contract Administrator Alden Porter. 

Oklahoma is prime territory for severe weather and tornadoes.  Because the walls of the new building are round, damaging straight winds will have nothing to grab on to, and will just move around or over the building.  "The strength of the tornado is moved around the building and not at the building, or at the corner or point that you would have on a square building," says Porter.  This shape prevents disasters from happening. 

McCuiston says that the students were outgrowing the current school, and the district began searching for a plan that would create a safe and cost efficient structure.  "Over a 20 or 30 year span you could almost build the building in the savings you would have in energy," he says.  Since the building is constructed in pods, the classrooms are divided like slices of a pie, eliminating the need for long hallways that waste space.  The new school will have over 40,000 feet of living space, 18 classrooms, a cafeteria, library media center, and a gym.

Count on 7News to keep you updated on the construction progress.

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