The village of Brookfield ought to have a good idea of how much it’s going to take to repair and repaint its water tower by the end of May, according to Public Works Director Dan Kaup.
Brookfield has estimated that the cost to refurbish the tower, notable for the dolphins that adorn the 1-million-gallon spheroid tank at the top, at about $300,000. In addition, the village is spending about $17,000 for an engineering firm to prepare specifications, prepare construction contracts and inspect the work.
Funds for the effort are coming out of the village’s water fund, which pays for infrastructure improvements to the water system. The fund’s revenues come from service charges to Brookfield water residential and business customers as well as the Brookfield Zoo.
On April 22, the village board gave Kaup the green light for Dixon Engineering Inc. to prepare the bid specifications and for the village to solicit bids through a request-for-proposals process.
Kaup said the village will likely award a contract to the lowest bidder by June “at the latest.”
While the exterior of the tower will get a new coat of paint, Dixon noted during a 2011 inspection that several interior repairs need to be made.
“The cost is so high because of the additional repair work that’s necessary,” said Kaup.
Brookfield will ask each bidder to submit three prices — one for repairs and an exterior coat of paint only, one that also includes the word Brookfield on two sides of the tank and one that also includes painting an image on the tank.
According to former Village Manager James Mann, who was employed by the village when the tower was last repainted in 1996, the dolphin outlines are etched into the steel tank to make it easier to repaint them.
Trustee Brian Oberhauser suggested that if it would be just as easy to paint another waterborne animal, such as a penguin or polar bear, on the tower, maybe the village ought to to consider that since, technically, all of the zoo’s dolphins actually reside in the Riverside portion of the zoo.
Kaup said the companies will give a quote based on whatever the board decides to do. Staff’s recommendation, he said, would be for repair and an overcoat of paint. Any extras would be up to the village board, he said.
According to Kaup, water-tank painting projects are typically scheduled for early summer or early fall. As a result, work in Brookfield will be scheduled during the fall and will likely take about two months to complete.
Kaup said the tower will essentially be shrouded during the work in order to contain debris from the power cleaning and paint job. Kaup said it was not clear if the work would affect activities at Maple North Park or the preschool program housed in the building immediately east of the tower. The preschool program, which is run by the Brookfield Recreation Department and serves about 25 children, would be in session if the work is done during the fall.
Water will be drained from the tank while the repair work is completed. That will not affect water service, said Kaup, as the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission has assured the village that its ability to pump water is sufficient.
Asked whether the water tower was needed, Kaup said the tower allows the village to have a gravity-fed source of water during fire or other emergencies. The present water tower was built in 1981. The 95-foot structure is the tallest in the village.