REPUBLIC, Mo. -- A local group is building new churches that can stand up to Mother Nature's fury.
The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses already built one in Joplin following last year's deadly EF-5 tornado. A brand new church on Highway N north of Republic is built with Insulated Concrete Forms -- basically giant Styrofoam-type Lego blocks that can withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. The blocks are a foot thick with a six-inch reinforced concrete center.
Once the foundation is poured, more than 500 volunteers built the new church in about two weekends -- all without accepting paychecks.
Builders say, if a tornado ever strikes, they hope the building will stand strong and can serve as a shelter.
"We realized if another tornado hit, it would be nice to have a building that withstood with perhaps just some minor repairs that we could use as a service center to go out and help people in the community to rebuild their lives and rebuild their home," project overseer Mike Hart said.
"You get to learn a little bit of everything this way so when you have an opportunity to do it again, you're ready and willing and able to do it," volunteer Paula Hart said.
The initial cost is a little more, but they say it was well worth it -- especially when you pay zero for labor costs.
The group plans on building another church in Salem in October. It too will be made with Insulated Concrete Forms and take about two weekends to build.