The Mathena Family Event Center: A Dome Convention Center to Build Faith Communities

Mathena Family Events Center, a concrete dome convention center in Oklahoma

We talk a lot about dome homes here, but concrete domes have so many more possibilities beyond private residences. In 2016, an incredible concrete dome wrapped construction in order to open its doors to over 50,000 visitors each year thereafter. This amazing dome convention center, the Mathena Family Event Center, provides multiple conference rooms for its campers and faith leaders, but its benefits only start there.

Built for Building Faith Communities

Built in Davis, Oklahoma, on the Falls Creek Conference Centers grounds, the Mathena Family Events Center is the centerpiece of an extensive complex that includes everything from lodging to challenge courses. The complex hosts summer youth camps, ministry training, and support events throughout the year.

A Big Dome Convention Center for A Big Need

In 2012, the grounds were in need of a large central building that could accommodate as many as 2,000 people in a single meeting. The planning team intended to pursue conventional construction plans, but architect Michael McCoy mentioned concrete dome construction as an alternative, almost in passing.

What followed was a quick dive into the world of concrete domes and a change of plans that ended with the oblong building that now houses the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s biggest events. Today, it’s a key component of the success of Falls Creek’s outreach and ministry efforts.

Unique Construction for Concrete Domes

Unlike most concrete dome projects that use ellipsoidal or spherical airforms as a basis, this dome convention center required a unique oblong shape. It’s closer in its footprint to a modern stadium, with semicircular ends and straight sidewalls connecting them. The BGCO chose the shape because it was the best use of the land they had available within the Conference Centers’ grounds.

The dome convention center has 35,000 square feet of floor space on two separate levels. Half of the lower level is dedicated to a large 2,000-seat conference room. The other half can be divided into smaller rooms for groups of 40 to 150 people. Inside the convention center is a full-service commercial kitchen to cater for the many events the building hosts.

The concrete dome is built atop a 23-foot concrete block stem wall. Once the stem wall was in place, the dome itself took only 9 weeks to complete. With the dome height, this dome convention center stands 52 feet above its surroundings.

Why Choose a Concrete Dome Convention Center?

The BGCO took several different factors into consideration when they chose a dome convention center. One of these factors was safety. Oklahoma’s tornado season is one of the most severe in the nation, so having a FEMA-approved tornado shelter as their convention center was a perfect choice. Dome homes and storage buildings are known for their incredible strength against violent storms, and the Mathena Family Event Center is no different.

But the planning team also knew that cost was a concern. Dome construction has an advantage at larger scales over conventional construction though. While larger conventional buildings tend to increase cost as size increases, dome construction tends to work in reverse. With fewer interior structural materials, the cost of a dome convention center at the time of the Mathena Events Center project was far less than other options for that scale.

And again, the completely customizable shape of a concrete dome airform held serious advantages over conventional engineering. The oblong footprint took into account the unique land area that was available for the convention center, maximizing the amount of space without requiring more land or having to sacrifice square footage for practicality.

Benefits Beyond Imagination

From beautiful dream homes to custom-built agricultural solutions, and even event enormous arenas like the Mathena Family Event Center, concrete dome construction can do just about anything. We knew this when we started KingDome Builders, and we are on a mission to bring the efficiency, safety, innovation, and customization of concrete domes to our communities.

If your business, school, or family are curious about what dome construction could do for you and your needs, we’re here to help. Contact us today to set up a tour of our model dome home, or get in touch with our team to start designing your own concrete dome solution.