PCMA BIP 2022 Duncan Public Schools, Black Box Theater and Storm Shelter: Coreslab OK

Best Facility - School/Educational

Duncan Public Schools, Black Box Theater, and Storm Shelter

Duncan Public Schools, Black Box Theater, and Storm Shelter


This small black box theater and storm shelter is the latest addition to the existing high school auditorium in Duncan, Oklahoma. The addition features a theater, lobby, and restrooms, all encased within an efficient, cost-effective, and strong precast concrete superstructure that doubles as a storm shelter.

Project Timeline

This project progressed quickly. After just two months of drafting and engineering, the precast concrete structure and components were ready for production. The precast concrete manufacturer, Coreslab Structures Oklahoma, needed two weeks to produce all of the pieces. Then, the project was erected in just one week. The first three days of assembly required the crane on site to place the pieces, then the week was finished with welding and grouting the pieces in place.

Key design features

While the cast-in brick adds an elegant touch to the façade, and the clear-spanning double tee beams allow this theater to function optimally without the need for any intermediate columns, the greatest feature this precast concrete project provides is doubling as a secure, long-lasting, and sturdy safe-haven for its’ users in even the harshest weather conditions.


Though this space will be used as a normal day-to-day classroom, when a severe storm is approaching, students and faculty will file in, lock the doors, project a movie on the screen, and wait out the tornado within the safety of this precast concrete structure. This durable shell was designed to withstand an EF-5 tornado.

Precast concrete components 

A total of 36 precast concrete pieces were used. The 10 clear-spanning roof members are 8-foot-wide and 48-inch-deep double tees, and the 26 perimeter walls are 16-inch-thick insulated sandwich panels with a cast-in thin-brick veneer.

On these exterior panels, two colors of thin brick were used to add an attractive aesthetic to this addition. One color covers the bottom 3/4s of the wall panels then transitions to a lighter color of brick at the top.

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