Dome shaped buildings gaining ground in Oklahoma, considered tornado proof

EL RENO, Okla. – Round shaped buildings have gained ground in Oklahoma.

Residents might recognize the dome shaped buildings that have been around for a while like the Gold Dome in Oklahoma City and the Red Barn in Arcadia.

Now, monolithic domes are acting as safe houses. Designers and builders also claim they are tornado proof.

From a distance, they looks like a backyard playhouse or a cute round cottage, but if you think beyond the box, there’s more to it.

A monolithic dome, made only out of concrete, acts as a storm shelter for an El Reno family.

The structure is energy efficient and the smooth curves make this building strong and tornado proof.

“A compound structure splits the wind around it, so when you have an extremely strong wind splitter, it doesn’t care about 250-300 mile an hour winds,” said Verlin Fairchild.

Verlin Fairchild has built 11 domes in the metro including his house, storm shelters and a gazebo.

Concrete cures over time so the materials get stronger and engineers say monolithic domes could last up to 1,000 years.

“It’s the way of the future for humanity, not just Oklahoma,” Fairchild said.

Eight small rural school districts in Oklahoma have also built domes. Locust Grove’s dome acts as a school and the town’s community shelter.

Fairchild hopes through education and awareness, domes can act as a lifesaving base with a cool shape.

“Nobody is building things that are sustainable and last forever, this lasts forever,” said Fairchild.

Fairchild says domes are not as common yet because of lack of crews and designers.  He also said many neighborhoods have certain building codes where dome shaped buildings are not allowed.

Fairchild is hosting a monolithic dome introduction class on August 18th at Canadian Valley Technology Center.

The class costs $19 will be offered four times this fall.

To register, go to www.cvtech.edu.