Church to Withstand Severe Weather

By: Erica Proffer Email
By: Erica Proffer Email

You could soon be better protected during severe weather. However, this is not your typical storm shelter, it's formally a church.

This is the first time Pastor Hart Ramsey has stood under his church's roof.

However, it's not your typical covering; it's called a Monolithic Dome and can withstand strong winds and earthquakes.

In fact, FEMA rates them as "near-absolute protection" from F-5 tornadoes and Category 5 hurricanes.

"We didn't want to be a community where a storm happens and not have a safe place. So, during inclement weather we'll involve the community and those who want to seek shelter," says Ramsey.

While watching the dome inflate, it may look rather light, but just the outside fabric alone weighs a whopping 15,000 pounds.

"After it's fully inflated, they'll come back and build about five inches of insulation, reinforce the insulation and six inches of concrete over that. You'll have about a foot thick structure under the Dome," explains Ramsey.

"I just praise God that there's a place for your kids to grow up. I'm happy to be a part of an awesome project," says Terrell McGriff, who attends Northview Christian Church.

This is the second monolithic dome for the state of Alabama. The only other one is located in Birmingham.

"We're proud to be a part of this building program for the church. We're submitting it for an award because [it’s] unusual and it's probably the only thing this town will ever see like this," says Contractor Ricky Saliba.

In total, the church will have four monolithic domes.

Two domes are a part of phase one, totaling over 49,000 square feet.

According to Pastor Ramsey, that will give the church enough space to hold over a thousand people in the event of severe weather.

The price tag for this project is about $9.5 million dollars, but contractors say that is less than similar construction.

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  • by Jean Location: Chicago on Mar 18, 2008 at 04:41 PM
    This is really good news to read, esp. after the Atlanta tornado last week. Reporters can ask when one will be built in Greensburg KS; also report on the Monolithic Dome & Crenosphere options for sports arenas, cf. the tornado damage to the Georgia Dome.
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