Nestled in the tree-covered Wilmington, Delaware, the Delaware Military Academy has a clear mission to help their cadets prepare for higher education and to become good citizens. They credit the construction of a Monolithic Dome on their campus in allowing them to better fulfill this mission.
A few years ago, the Delaware Military Academy recognized a need to further enhance their cadet’s high school experience. Anthony Pullella, Commandant of the Academy, and Dave Kaiser, Facilities Manager, believed that a Monolithic Dome could provide a better athletic and educational experience for the cadets, and the ground was broken on the large dome in 2017. South Industries was chosen to be the contractor responsible for the construction of the dome.
“What [the dome] has done for us has been amazing,” Pullella remarked, “it has afforded us the opportunity to expand our athletic program. It’s given our cadets a home-court advantage—a place to play that exceeds what they currently had. But also, more than that, it also gave us the opportunity to expand our academic program.”
The two-time volleyball state champions now have a place to practice that suits their title.
The completion of the 27,000 square foot dome added a gymnasium that seats 750, eight classrooms, offices, locker rooms, an athletic training facility, and more room for teachers. The additional facility has allowed for a more secluded area for the freshman class, giving them the chance to bond with their classmen before heading into the rest of their high school experience. The dome has also provided the school with 40 percent more space to utilize.
Along with the benefits the dome has brought to the cadets, the dome has proven to be a wise decision financially. When Delaware Military Academy decided that they wanted to build an additional facility, they analyzed the costs for a traditional building vs a Monolithic Dome and decided the dome would be the best choice. Not only was the building more cost-effective in the initial construction costs, but the energy savings have also been a major benefit to the school.
The school is very grateful to the local philanthropist and real estate developer, Anthony N. Fusco, Sr., for his generous contribution to the construction of the facility. He donated 2.5 million dollars to assist the school in meeting the 6 million dollar cost. Due to his kindness, the dome was named after Anthony N. Fusco, Sr. and his late wife, Catherine.
Anthony Pullella described the reaction to the new building as very positive. He said, “The Monolithic Dome provides a more open atmosphere…everybody that comes into the dome is always amazed at the engineering behind it…we couldn’t be more pleased.”