If You Build It, They Will Come

After Bruce finished setting up the school buses in a tight formation in a large swath of his 12.5-acre property, he began the slow, difficult process of cutting their chassis and turning them into a massive, interconnected structure of winding corridors, rooms, storage spaces, and bulkheads.

But Bruce didn’t do it alone. As he began construction, a small army of like-minded volunteers began to show up, and over the next few years, would help complete the construction of the complex.

The Buses, Submerged

After several years of slow-paced, but deliberate and thoughtful work, Bruce’s bus building complex was complete, and he was ready to take the next step. Making sure the buses’ chassis were airtight, he began pouring concrete over the structure, encasing it forever in the thick, resilient substance.

After the concrete had set and dried, Bruce proceeded to cover the construction with an additional 14 feet of dirt. When he was done, the entire underground complex was completely invisible to outside observers – and safe under a thick layer of concrete and earth.

10,000 Square Feet of Survivalist Utopia

Finally, the initial construction of Bruce’s vision was complete. He had built 10,000 square feet of a fortified bunker, capable of withstanding a nuclear blast—and of housing over 500 people within its underground walls.

Naming it “Ark Two,” this megacomplex made of school buses and concrete is one of the largest underground structures in North America—a huge accomplishment on any scale. But building it, it turned out, was only half the battle.

Structurally Sound

You may think that a complex as large as Ark Two, made out of salvaged materials and old school buses, encased under tons of concrete and dirt and built by a single, untrained man, might sound a little… unsafe, from a structural standpoint. And if it was anyone else other than Bruce Beach building this monstrous complex.

You’d probably be right—but Bruce isn’t like anyone else. Serious about his passion project, Bruce consulted with the same engineer who designed and constructed Toronto’s subway system—who, after going over Bruce’s plans and making a few key changes, approved the structure as structurally sound.

Building a Community

Describing the construction of Ark Two as a feat carried out by Bruce Beach alone would be false. It’s true that his single-minded determination played a huge role in making the underground fort a reality, but he wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without the help of friends and volunteers.

As the project progressed, at least 50 people from Horning’s Mills, as well as members of the survivalist community, came together to take part in the planning and hard labor required to create the structure. But why would any well-balanced individual choose to take part in what seems like an insane project?

Earning Their Spot

One motivation for people to pitch in and work with Bruce on Ark Two, other than the sheer awesomeness of getting to say that they got to help build an underground nuclear bunker, is the simple fact that Bruce has guaranteed a spot in his massive shelter for anyone who is willing to help in its construction and maintenance.

Volunteers are invited to spend a few weekends a year working around the structure, performing renovations and basic maintenance—and in return, to assure their safety in a case disaster ever strikes—a situation which Bruce is quite certain will happen sooner, rather than later.