Dome Roof Gym Doubles as Storm Shelter

In Edna Texas a high school gymnasium was built to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour. The windowless building with a dome shaped roof will do double duty as a storm shelter during hurricane season. The new roof has layers of concrete, insulation and rebar. Edna has a population of 5,500 and is approximately 100 miles southwest of Houston.

The $2.5 million building was primarily financed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The heavy duty building has a double layer of cinder block walls reinforced by steel bars and cement piers that are buried 30 feet into the ground.

More Domes Planned

The Edna dome is the second hurricane dome in Texas. The first dome was built near Corpus Christi in Woodsboro Texas. The domes were built to protect the residents who may not be able to leave the area, such as the elderly and the sick. Local officials and first responders will also be able to take advantage of the shelters so they will be in the immediate area to begin recovery efforts.

Local communities are paying approximately 25% of the dome costs with FEMA picking up the rest. The buildings are being built as recreation or community centers when not needed as emergency shelters.

FEMA plans to build 28 dome buildings, with shelters planned in Brownsville, Bay City, and two in Kingsville. According to Tom Vinger a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, they plan to add these structures to 11 counties in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and along the coast from Victoria to Newton Counties.

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