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Author Topic: Governments build more domes: Schools, sports facilities, emergency shelters  (Read 5172 times)


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Hurricane Central
Texas Builds 'Hurricane Domes' for Double-Duty

Juan A. LozanoPublished: Dec 30, 2012, 10:25 PM EST

EDNA, Texas  — Most of the time, the windowless building with the dome-shaped roof will be a typical high school gymnasium filled with cheering fans watching basketball and volleyball games.

But come hurricane season, the structure that resembles a miniature version of the famed Astrodome will double as a hurricane shelter, part of an ambitious storm-defense system that is taking shape along hundreds of miles of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Its brawny design — including double-layer cinder-block walls reinforced by heavy duty steel bars and cement piers that plunge 30 feet into the ground — should allow it to withstand winds up to 200 mph.

"There is nothing standard" about the building, said Bob Wells, superintendent of the Edna school district, as he stood inside the $2.5 million gym, which is set to be completed by March. "The only standard stuff is going to be the stuff we do inside."

The Edna dome is one of 28 such buildings planned to protect sick, elderly and special-needs residents who might be unable to evacuate ahead of a hurricane. First-responders and local leaders will also be able to take refuge in the domes, allowing them to begin recovery efforts faster after a storm has passed.

Storm-defense structures are getting increased attention in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which inflicted heavy damage on the East Coast in October. The city of New York, for instance, is considering a multi-billion-dollar system of sea barriers.

(MORE: NYC Sea Barrier Could Have Stopped Superstorm's Surge)

For Texas, a state always in danger during hurricane season, the domes offer the extra benefit of serving as recreation or community centers when not needed as shelters. They are being erected with help from the federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I think it's good for FEMA, and I think it's good for us. And I think it's good for the taxpayers," Wells said.

The gym in Edna, a town of 5,500 people about 100 miles southwest of Houston, is the second hurricane dome in Texas. The first was built in 2011 in Woodsboro, near Corpus Christi. Most of the domes will be around 20,000 square feet.

The plan calls for structures in 11 counties in the Rio Grande Valley, around Corpus Christi and along the coast from Victoria to Newton counties, said Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

So far, $34.5 million has been awarded. This month, FEMA approved funds for a hurricane dome that will serve as a community center in Brownsville, one that will serve as a wellness center and physical rehabilitation facility in Bay City and two that will serve as multi-purpose training centers in Kingsville.

Inside the gym in Edna, Wells' voice echoed as he pointed to the ceiling, which has layers of sprayed-on concrete, insulation and rebar, all of which are under a heavy duty fabric that gives the structure its distinctive wind-resistant shape.

The doorways are covered by awnings of heavy gauge metal and supported by concrete girders that go 15 feet into the ground.

FEMA is paying for 75 percent of the dome structures, with local communities picking up the remaining cost.

The funding is part of the agency's initiative to help homeowners and communities build hardened shelters that provide protection from extreme weather.

Nationwide, more than $683 million has been awarded in 18 states, including Texas, Alabama, Michigan and South Carolina.

Walking around the gym, Wells said it reminded him of when, as a teenager, he first walked into the Astrodome after it opened in 1965 in Houston.

"It was like, 'Oh, wow, this is so cool,'" he said. "I'm still kind of in the 'oh, wow' stage with this."


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It's really great to see at least Texas is wising up to the fact that these type of structures are necessary!


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It's really great to see at least Texas is wising up to the fact that these type of structures are necessary!
Yes, looks like TX might be in the forefront in trying to protect its citizens...I hope the FEMA domes being built are primarily for shelters for the local humans.  - Yowbarb

Strange Domes to Line the Texas Coast in Preparation for Something to Come

FEMA Funding Impenetrable Dome Structures Around Houston

By Shepard Ambellas   October 15, 2012
HOUSTON — Disaster-proof domes that can sustain winds in excess of 250 mph will cost taxpayers more than $50 a foot.
FEMA has now offered to pick up the tab of at least $50 million dollars, to install disaster shelters in and around Houston that, according to the manufacturer, (ABC Domes based out of Sealy – Division of Golden Sands General Contracting out of Miami) are “almost impenetrable”.
The company has been building these type of shelters for decades.
The government has also offered to cover 75% of the cost on structures over 20,00 square feet in size. A facility of this size would cost around $1 million.
What is interesting is how recent reports vary in nature. Some say that the domes are to protect citizens from hurricanes while others say that FEMA equipment will be held in the domes.
If it is true that FEMA will store equipment in the domes, why now?
Another interesting aspect reported was the fact that extra security and fencing measures have been implemented around the construction sites for the domes. reported on a new 33,000 square foot structure that is raising eyebrows;

Crews working from the inside reinforce the structure with iron and concrete until it’s a fortress that not even the U.S. Air Force could destroy. A security fence around the perimeter keeps the curious at bay.
A townsperson jokes, “This is Area 52.”
But the story of the 33,000-square-foot dome that’s risen like a blister on the prairie off Interstate 10 in Sealy is no work of fiction.
It’s the Texas home of ABC Domes, a company that specializes in helping banks get back to business in the wake of terrestrial disasters.
Inside will be stored generators, trucks, communications equipment and an array of repair supplies waiting to be dispatched as soon as the next hurricane or tornado (or wildfire, earthquake, etc.) has passed.

When there’s notice, as with a looming storm, workers will be housed there as well, ready to roll as soon as the wind dies down.
The domes are comprised of special fabrics and steel reinforced concrete materials and can get pretty intricate in design detail.
FEMA plans to build about 35 shelters along the Texas coast.
When the owner of ABC Domes Peter Fedele was asked what type of shelter does he live in he replied;

“In Miami, I have a traditional 50-year-old home. I also have an apartment inside our dome headquarters in Sealy and Lakeland, Fla.
I have a farm in Jamaica where I go three or four times a year. My farmhouse is on a mountain and made of concrete and is hurricane-resistant.
In Jamaica, I live off the grid. I use solar and wind power, collect my own rainwater and grow my own fruits and vegetables and raise my own meat. I was good friends with the late mother of Bob Marley, Stella Marley Booker, and we lived in the same village. We built a school there and named it after her. We’re also planning to build domes in Jamaica.”
According to Golden Sands General Contracting’s official website;

Golden Sands was founded in 1988 on the solid building blocks of quality, integrity and personal accountability.

Today, we serve the commercial general contracting needs of some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the nation.
We are called on for their toughest challenges because our unmatched expertise and determined work ethic delivers each project to success.
$50 million dollars is a pretty hefty taxpayer donation, why now?
Is the weather expected to get worse?

Read More Articles by Shepard Ambellas:
Shepard Ambellas is the founder & director of (a popular alternative news website), researcher, investigative journalist, radio talk show host, and filmmaker. Follow Shepard on Twitter/NotForSale2NWO and on,. Please feel free to checkout (An Ambellas & Bermas Film).

« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 09:29:09 AM by Yowbarb »


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Forgive it if this is a repeat. Certainly worth some thought. I put bold on certain parts. I have no idea how widespread this is, the building of domes for schools, funded by FEMA, but Lord knows people need to this and not rebuild wooden matchstick structures. Even the steel reinforced structures aren't holding up to the EF5s. The dome shape is resistant to the winds! Reference is:
- Yowbarb


February 2009 FEMA Funds Dome Tornado Shelters

FEMA Funds First Dome Tornado Shelter for Missouri School : New Steel-Reinforced Concrete Dome to Double as Preschool Classroom

NIANGUA, Missouri (February 27, 2009)

A small Missouri school district has received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to build a Dome Shelter that will double as a preschool classroom. The dome is the first building of its kind approved for FEMA funding.

The shelter, which will hold approximately 400 people, is being constructed for the Niangua R-V School District. The building qualified for the grant money because the concrete dome meets FEMA’s criteria for design and construction of community safe rooms, and also offer near-absolute protection from tornadoes and hurricanes.

“After all the federally declared disasters we have faced in Webster County in the past two years, we applied for and received a grant to build a community storm shelter in the Niangua area,” says emergency management director Bill Sexton. “The building will not only protect people during a tornado, it will also double as a classroom.”

The building will cost $311,750 to build, but ninety percent of the funding is coming from FEMA. Niangua’s pre-school students currently attend class in double-wide trailers, which have been described as tornado magnets.   

Concrete Domes are steel-reinforced buildings that are known not only for their safety, but for their energy efficiency. A dome can cost as much as 50 percent less to heat and cool than a traditional structure of the same size. Because of the materials used in their construction, they also are fire safe.

Also the “green” features of the building are excellent. “The energy savings along will usually pay for the total cost of the structure within the first 20 years,” Bill said. “They also are very durable structures. Properly maintained, they will last for centuries.”  He added that every school in the nation could benefit from a dome that doubles as a tornado shelter. 

Many Concrete dome schools have been built in Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida, Idaho, and Minnesota. Several dome schools are currently under construction or about to break ground, including one in Kansas.

The construction method used to build Concrete Domes is as unusual as the buildings themselves. The process begins with the placement of a ring beam footing and the pouring of a circular steel-reinforced concrete slab floor. In many cases, a stem wall is then erected to give the building straight walls and a more conventional look. Next, crews attach an Airform, which is inflated using giant fans.

Once the Airform is inflated, work moves inside where wood panel is attached to frame the windows and doors. Three inches of polyurethane foam is then sprayed on the rest of the Airform, and a grid of steel rebar is attached to the foam. In the final step, crews spray on a layer of Shotcrete that ranges from 4 inches at the top to 8 inches at the base. The result is a permanent and virtually indestructible structure.

For more information about Concrete Domes schools in Taiwan or other Pacific Rim countries, contact Charles Lin at +886 939 928 719, Email:



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