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Makeover: The 'Earthoid' Water Tower Gets a Refresh

Earthy or Sporty: WSSC officials to determine the design of a Germantown Water Tower

If you drive to the end of Observation Drive on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College, you will stumble upon an elevated water tank that is not only shaped like a globe but painted like one too.

Germantown’s 33-year old “Earthoid” Water Tower is in for a makeover and a decision on the contractor will be made tomorrow, according to John White, WSSC’S Public Affairs Manager.

“The water tank is due for a paint job,” said White.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) commissioners are slated to meet Wednesday, March 16 to determine the fate of a 2-million gallon water tank that is situated on the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.

 According to White, “six (6) bids were submitted to water officials ranging from $760,000 to over $1.3 million”. There are two under consideration: Keep it like the Earth or change it to a baseball.

Montgomery College Provost Dr. Sanjay Rai noted there is no need to change the globe.

 "The College was not aware of WSSC's plans to put the painting of the globe up for bid. We've since contacted WSSC and shared our interest in keeping it painted as a globe. We look forward to working with WSSC to ensure the vision our students and faculty had in the late 1970s is honored." Marcus S. Rosano, Media Relations Specialist.

Rosano said the College interest for it remaining the globe style is due in part to their newest campus addition: : a new Bioscience Education Center that is slated to open on by the end of 2013.

The 100-foot tank is visible from Interstate- 270 and Route 118 (Germantown Road) and has been featured in guidebooks and even has won an award. In 1980, it won a "Steel Tank of the Year" award from the Steel Plate Fabricators Association.

The tank was built by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company. It was painted by Peter A. Freudenberg who, according to online research, painted several large scale projects of this type. The water tank was built in the late 1970s on Montgomery College's Germantown campus to increase water pressure for the growing Germantown area.

White noted that water towers are painted every 10-15 years, in addition to their normal maintenance. He also said that this tank provides water for most of the Upcounty area including: Germantown, Boyds, Montgomery Village and parts of Gaithersburg.

White said he could not give specifics on the bids or provide copies of the proposals before the board meeting. He did note that WSSC sent out a request for bids in November and will vote on a contractor March 16. WSSC will not choose the painted design until April. 

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