Workers are making progress on Catoosa Schools' new state-of-the-art tornado shelter. Monday, crews started working on what's called a Monolithic Dome - a roof made of concrete and steel.
What could be compared to a giant plastic balloon is actually the foundation for what will be one of the strongest structures in the world – and Catoosa Public Schools’ first above-ground storm shelter.
Catoosa Public Schools superintendent, Rick Kibbe, said the money for the $4 million project at Wells Middle School came straight from Catoosa taxpayers.
"When a community comes together and catches a vision, look what can happen," he said.
Monday students couldn't look away, and neither could the adults, as crews blew up what will eventually be the shelter's dome roof.
Construction project manager, Trent Brown, said it marked the start of the final phase of construction of the Monolithic Dome.
"This was a major milestone. Lot of the work we've done up until now has been behind the scenes, so to speak," he said.
Next, crews will spray insulation inside the plastic balloon. Then, they'll reinforce it with steel before spraying on six inches of concrete - making the building nearly indestructible.
Brown said, "I've actually toured some of them that had actually taken a direct hit of an F-4 tornado, and it withstood that impact. There was no damage."
That's why the progress means more than any other construction project.
In April 1993, seven people died, and hundreds more were hurt, when an F-4 hit Catoosa. The high school suffered major damage.
Should history ever repeat itself, the shelter will be the ultimate safe haven for Catoosa's middle and high schoolers.
The district is also considering opening it up to the city as a public shelter.
Crews should have the shelter completed by May. The superintendent said the hope is to have one of the shelters built at each of the elementary schools.