Avalon dome provides safe haven during tornadoes

WFAA news 8 van parked outside Monolithic Dome gym.

The Monolithic Dome gymnasium at the school in Avalon, Texas, sheltered over 50 people during a tornado that ripped off roofs of nearby buildings. WFAA and other media came to report on the aftermath.

Monolithic

When the Avalon Independent School District in Texas needed a new multipurpose building, Superintendent David Del Bosque had safety at top of his mind. Since the nearby Italy school district had just completed a Monolithic Dome gymnasium center of its own, the decision was easy. “I personally was concerned about safety for students: the stability of the building in case of a storm,” Del Bosque said, adding that when he saw Italy’s dome, he knew that it was “the safest structure anywhere.”

Work on Avalon’s Monolithic Dome got under way in January 2002, and the building was completed later that year, under budget and ahead of schedule. In the eight years since then, the school district has had many opportunities to use the building as envisioned — to keep the town’s school children and residents safe. The dome served as a safe haven once again this week as tornadoes swept through Ellis County. News crews were on hand to document the storms and their aftermath.

WFAA in Avalon

WFAA reported on the tornado that struck Avalon, ripping part of the roof off the old school gymnasium while community residents took refuge inside the Avalon dome.

Avalon, Texas, Giles Street in this rural Ellis County community was without power late Monday night after it was struck by at least one tornado.

The clouds was coming north and south and they started rotating, so I grabbed my camcorder, said Don Dotson.

Seconds later, he and his family were running for cover.

Once we knew that the wind picked up and was blowing like 80 mph, shingles started blowing off my shed, we closed the garage door and it looked like it was going to suck the door off, it started shaking real bad, Dotson said.

Before the tornado touched down, more than 50 people huddled inside the town’s shelter, a dome at Avalon ISD.

We went to the dome and then all of a sudden people out of nowhere started coming in for shelter, said young storm victim Jerry Salazar.

After more than an hour inside the dome, neighbors walked out to a scene of devastation.

The domed shelter cost the district $1 million. The superintendent told News 8 it was worth every penny.

Read Ellis County community scrambles as tornado strikes at WFAA.

CBS on tornadoes

CBS-DFW reports on the extent of the tornado outbreak across North Texas.

Severe thunderstorms lashed parts of Texas throughout Monday afternoon and night — the second straight day of severe weather for the state — spawning more than a dozen tornadoes that caused widely scattered damage, but no immediate reports of injuries.

Read Multiple Tornadoes Touch Down Across North Texas on CBS-DFW.

Workers survey the damaged roof of the old gymnasium next door.

Avalon school staff working on temporary repairs to the roof of the old gymnasium damaged by the tornado.

Monolithic