Quick Look: Monolithic Dome Safe Rooms in the News, Jan 2020

Several Monolithic Dome safe rooms recently made it into the news. A nearly completed safe room in Mississippi was used for the first time as a large storm approached the community. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, opened its new community center and tornado shelter dome. A first responder safe room grant awarded to Covenant Christian School in Texas. And a Tennessee high school applies for FEMA grant for a combined gymnasium and safe room.

Oktibbeha County storm shelter.

Starkville Daily News reports on the new Oktibbeha County storm shelter opening ahead of severe storms.

Emma Moffett-Taylor

Storm misses new Mississippi safe room

The Starkville Daily News reported in December how a giant storm caused damage in parts of Mississippi. Fortunately, it mostly missed Oktibbeha County where schools and universities closed as the storm approached and the new Monolithic Dome safe room opened for residents to take shelter.

Oktibbeha County also stepped up its preparedness in opening the county’s new safe room on Lynn Lane for those seeking shelter.

The shelter is capable of holding 1,500 people and is in the final phases of its construction, with the actual grant requirements finished apart from of a few minor additions, according to Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Director Kristen Campanella. While the shelter does not yet have adequate seating, the county encouraged those using the shelter Monday to bring chairs if needed.

The nearly $2 million, 8,756-square-foot monolithic dome facility is capable of withstanding winds up to 250 mph.

Read the rest of Storms prompt closures, little else in Oktibbeha County on the Starkville Daily News website.

Tuscaloosa safe room.

Screen capture from ABC 33/40 report on the new Tuscaloosa community center and safe room.

ABC 33/40

Alabama safe room and community center opens

In December, Tuscaloosa opened the doors of the second largest safe room in Alabama. The 12,000 square foot facility is a community center with a gymnasium and a FEMA P-361 rated safe room during a tornado.

The facility had been in the planning works since the April 2011 tornado, but officials broke ground on the facility back in October 2018. The facility, a monolithic dome style, can withstand an EF-5 tornado, with winds up to 250 mph. In the event of a storm, it can hold up to 1,700 people.

Rosa Wells, who lives right across the street from the facility has called Tuscaloosa home for nearly 60 years is glad to see the building up and running.

“I think it’s a blessing for all of us because there are a lot of elderly people in this section,” Wells said. “Us elderly, we just walk, and it is just good for the neighborhood too.”

Read and watch the rest of Second largest storm shelter in state opens its doors on the WBMA website.

Congressman Kevin Brady speaks about FEMA grant.

Congressman Kevin Brady speaks about the $3 million FEMA grant for Covenant Christian School.

Jason Fochtman / Houston Chronicle

Grant awarded for first responder safe room

Covenant Christian School in Conroe, Texas awarded FEMA grant for hurricane safe room. The new Monolithic Dome will serve as a shelter for first responders who cannot evacuate during hurricanes. It will also be the new gymnasium at Covenant Christian School.

Covenant Christian School Head Administrator Glenn Slater’s excitement was infectious as he along with city, county and state leaders announced the school would be the location of a multi million-dollar hurricane safe room thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to information from the school, the project is a monolithic concrete dome gymnasium that will provide “near-absolute life safety protection” for first responders and other emergency personnel who cannot evacuate when a hurricane is imminent.

During a hurricane or other major disaster, the safe room/gymnasium would be turned over to local emergency management officials from Montgomery County and the city of Conroe to serve as a base of operations and secure shelter for first responders and other emergency personnel.

The facility will hold more than 650 first responders and will protect against winds over 200 mph from hurricanes and tornadoes. It will also protect against fire, termites and rot.

Read the rest of Conroe’s Covenant Christian School wins FEMA grant for hurricane safe room on The Courier of Montgomery County website.

WAAY-TV report on the City of Fayetteville’s application for a FEMA grant to construct a new gym/safe room at Fayetteville High School.


Tennessee high school seeks grant for tornado safe room

WAAY-TV reports that the City of Fayetteville, Tennessee, recently applied for a grant from FEMA to build a Monolithic Dome tornado storm shelter. The dome would be the gymnasium for Fayetteville High School and will shelter at least 1,000 people during a storm. The school and city will learn if they won the grant in September.

Fayetteville school leaders credit the mayor’s office for being supportive in the process, and with their help, they look to make the storm shelter a reality. Jones says the structure could withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour and protect from debris.

He says there are about 600 residents near the school who could benefit from using the shelter as well. When the space isn’t being used as a storm shelter, Jones says it would be used as a competition gymnasium for the sports teams and classrooms.

Read the rest of Fayetteville seeks $5 million grant to build massive tornado shelter on the WAAY-TV website.