New Catoosa Cafeteria Dome Provides Shelter in Tornado Area

Dome side view.

A side view of the dome

Simon Hurst

A new Monolithic Dome now stands on the school grounds where a tornado came tearing through 23 years ago. Catoosa, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, was the site of a F4 storm in 1993 that killed seven people and injured many more. One of the buildings that was heavily damaged was the high school. Thanks to a new Monolithic Dome, people at the school can now feel safe from another such storm.

This building is Catoosa Public Schools’ first above-ground storm shelter. The dome has a diameter of 136 feet, and its’ everyday use is to serve as the school cafeteria. Monolithic Domes meet FEMA standards for providing near-absolute protection, and have proven ability to withstand tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters.

From entrance to kitchen view.

A view from inside the dome, looking from the entrance towards the kitchen.

Simon Hurst

The need for storm shelters in this area of the country is obvious. The 1993 tornado was not an isolated incident; tornadoes are prevalent in the area. Oklahoma is part of “Tornado Alley,” a region of the United States where tornadoes are more likely to occur. Just three years ago a deadly tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, destroying an elementary school and killing seven students. Other districts and schools in the area are building shelters to prepare for such weather events.

In addition to the dome’s ability to act as a community shelter, the energy efficiency and low cost were attractive to the school district. “When you consider safety and energy conservation, the dome seems to be a clear choice, as well as construction time,” stated Rick Kibbe, Catoosa Public Schools’ superintendent.

The school will hold an open house October 25th from 5-7 p.m. to show the building to the public.

Cafeteria evening.

The cafeteria dome in the evening

Simon Hurst

For more information about the district, visit the Catoosa Public Schools website.

Drone video of completed structure.

Greg Miller / Atlas General Contractors

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