Dome raised on Tupelo High School gym – FEMA approved safe room

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – For more than six months, crews have been working on what will be the largest gym and safe room in the state at Tupelo High School. The multi-million dollar project got a huge boost.

The brick exterior wall is up for the 24,000 square foot gym and FEMA approved safe room. But inside, the apex of the dome roof, sat on the dirt floor, until huge fans began blowing.

Inflating the building’s PVC and fabric, 8000 pound dome took about 20 minutes.

Staffers with JBHM Arthitects,  school administrators and members of the media were allowed inside as the dome inflated.  Tupelo High School Principal Art Dobbs says the safe room and gymnasium is a welcome addition to the campus.

“This is great, the number one thing that it means is the safety aspect, being able to put all of our students and staff in this building if bad weather comes, gives you a great safe feeling,” Dobbs said.

Although the dome has its shape, the huge fans will continue running for the next two and a half months or so.  There is still a lot of work to be done on the structure.

“Everything we do is going to be done on the inside of this air form, we have got to put on the insulation, that will take a few weeks, and once the insulation is completed, we will put up the rebar grid or mesh and will spray that with shock crete overhead,” said Bryan Butikofer, with Dome Technology.

The facility is not only built to withstand an EF 5 tornado , but will also  serve as an athletic facility with seats for more than 2,000 people.

“It will house all basketball games, and give them the ability to also house competitions,” said Will Lewis, of JBHM Architects.

Construction should be complete by January.

The FEMA grant paid for over $2 million of the facility. The school district will kick in the rest of the money.

Categories: Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *