By Rubi Reyes Tuesday, March 31, 2009
WOODSBORO - The small Woodsboro school district is preparing for a big advancement in the community with the construction of a 20,000-square-foot gymnasium, which will be the first of its kind in South Texas, Superintendent Steven Self said.
The district plans to build the gym as a monolithic dome that will be able to double as the community disaster shelter, Self said. "Not only will the dome serve its purpose as a gymnasium but it will also serve as a shelter for the community during hurricanes," Self said.
The dome is funded by a 2005 voter-approved $9.9 million bond.
The district has made renovations to all the school buildings, and added science labs and additional halls to the high school.
"We have made electrical, plumbing, ceiling and floor renovations to all the buildings in the district," Self said.
The bond also paid for a new administration building and the costs of tearing down the junior high school, which is a work still in progress.
"The dome is the final phase of our bond," Self said.
The dome will cost about $2.1 to $2.4 million, and will seat 938 people.
Its life span will be measured in centuries and not in decades.
Domes are energy efficient. Monolithic Constructors, Inc. President David South said Beggs school district in Beggs, Okla., reported a savings of $50,000 in their electricity bill yearly.
About 1,700 people live in Woodsboro.
Monolithic Constructors, Inc. has built more than 45 dome schools in the United States.
The district will keep the current auditorium and gymnasium.
The district has applied for funding with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The domes are steel-reinforced, super-insulated concrete structures which afford near-absolute protection from hurricanes and tornadoes, South said.
Domes are almost indestructible because the wind cannot push straight through them the way it would a regular gymnasium or school, South said.
Because of the shape of the dome and the materials used in the construction, they are considered among the greenest of all buildings.
Domes save districts up to 50 percent on heating and cooling costs compared to traditional structures of the same size, South said.
THE BUILDING PROCESS
The placement of a ring beam footing and the pouring of a circular steel reinforced concrete slab floor.
A stem wall is erected to give the building straight walls and a more conventional look.
Crews attach an Airform, a tarp made of tough single-ply roofing material which is inflated using giant fans.
The Airform is inflated and work moves to the interior, where treated wood is attached to frame the windows and doors.
A 3-inch layer of polyurethane foam is then sprayed on the rest of the Airform and a grid of steel rebar is attached to the foam.
Crews spray on a layer of Shotcrete which ranges from 4 inches at the top to 8 inches at the base.