New $40 million structure will create an idyllic environment amid harsh North Carolina summers and unpredictable winters.

Durham, NC—April 1, 2018: Montessori Community School announced today that it has secured a pledge of $40,000 to launch a $40 million bio-dome fundraising campaign. The gift comes from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

MCSBiodome(artists-rendering)4-1-18According to MCS Head of School Tim Daniel, the idea for the bio-dome came from an aircraft hangar at an old military airbase in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia that he had visited while touring the Aramco Schools back in 2005.

“Aramco had converted the facility into a moderate-climate school and housing complex of about 194 million cubic feet,” said Daniel. “Naturally, I came away from that experience very intrigued, and dreaming of the possibility of bringing this same kind of innovative educational delivery system to a school in the United States.”

“Two years ago, when I visited MCS while interviewing for the open Head of School’s position, I thought to myself, ‘Why not here?’”

Shortly after arriving at MCS in the summer of 2016, Daniel said that he was very fortunate to connect with a little-known technologies company in the Research Triangle, Vandalay Industries, that was developing a breakthrough material called AMS that would be perfect for a bio-dome.

“From that point on,” said Daniel, “I knew we were on to something, and just had to raise the funds necessary. Of course, we still have to raise another $39.96 million, but $40,000 is a great start.”

Unlike the Saudi hangar, the “Monte-dome” (as Daniel calls it) will be made with 100 percent space-age ultra-light transparent/translucent material that will make the skeleton structure virtually unseen, allowing for an unobstructed view of the sky.

Because the interior climate of the new bio-dome will result in an average year-round temperature of 72.4 degrees Fahrenheit and a consistent humidity of 55.7 percent, MCS will drastically reduce its energy consumption by removing the need to power current heating and cooling systems. This, coupled with the planned installation this summer of a 250-foot wind turbine just behind the school’s Lower Elementary building, will almost completely remove the school’s energy needs from the public grid.

“All of these details are going to be very critical components as we now have to submit our revised application for a new Special Use Permit from the Town of Chapel Hill,” said Daniel.

According to Daniel, the development of the bio-dome will be in two stages, starting with the existing buildings on the currently-developed campus. A second, slightly smaller dome will enclose the new Adolescent Program, Administration, and Cafe-Gymna-Torium buildings after they have been constructed on the Greene Property.

“I have to admit that, at first, I was very skeptical about this project’s feasibility,” commented MCS Assistant Head for Facilities and Operations Dave DeHarde. “But then, when I realized that the dome would keep the geese from invading us every year, I was all for it. The sooner, the better!”

“And, no more having to stay up all night worrying about whether or not we’ll have to call off school due to a few flurries,” added Daniel.

Since MCS has been on Spring Break this past week, no members of the Board of Trustees were available for comment.

If you have read this far, happy April Fools’ Day!!