City Commission approves $55K contract for Gore Hill water tower artwork

City Commissioners voted 4-1, with Bill Bronson dissenting, to award a $55,000 contract to Cameron Moberg to paint the Gore Hill water tower.

Staff recommended, and commissioners approved design option one to be painted in the summer of 2021, after the warranty period expires on the current paint.

Moberg option 1

No funding source has yet been identified but city staff are working with the Great Falls Area Community Foundation to allow donations to be housed within that nonprofit until it’s time to paint the water tower.

City Attorney Sara Sexe said the commission action during the Nov. 5 meeting effectively locked in the bid and the contract documents would allow the city an exit if the funding isn’t available before Moberg would start the work.

Water tower art decision likely delayed to November

Commissioners said they did not want taxpayer dollars used to fund the water tower artwork.

Moberg was in town over the last two years painting murals around the downtown area.

Murals going up in downtown for ArtsFest MONTANA

The city request bids earlier this fall and in September received two bids with three design options in each. The bids ranged from $55,000 to $144,000.

The two-year warranty currently in place for the construction of the water tower and coating system on the storage tank doesn’t end until Dec. 17, 2020. The sealant for the concrete pedestal was applied over the summer and has a two-year warranty, according to city documents.

City delays decision on Gore Hill water tower artwork

Staff pointed out that if a warranty issues arises after a mural is painted within the warranty periods, staff may not be able to identify which entity would be responsible for correcting the issue.

Earlier this year, the City Commission opted to put the logo painting decision on hold to explore other options.

Water tower lettering decision on hold

When the city first approved the contract in 2017 for the tower’s construction, the lettering was an added option that City Commissioners decided to put off until construction was complete.

Lettering options considered for new Gore Hill water tower

The construction contractor notified the city earlier this year that their painting crew would be in town this spring to paint the pedestal a light tan color, so staff was asking the commission to choose a lettering option so that painting could be done at the same time.

The full request for proposals is available here.

Three designs were proposed, one of which was the lettering used by Visit Great Falls Montana Tourism, the Great Falls Development Authority, the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, and as of Tuesday, the Downtown Great Falls Association/Business Improvement District.

Those designs ranged in price from $27,500 to $37,700.

The Gore Hill Water Tower consists of a composite style elevated water storage facility completed in 2018. The bowl is comprised of welded steel with a TNEMEC Series 700 exterior coating system applied in 2018. The same coating system with proper surface preparation is required for the coating used to paint the mural/logo on the bowl.

The pedestal is comprised of cast-in-place concrete with a color infused concrete sealant by Sherwin Williams. Proper surface preparation of the pedestal is required to ensure proper adhesion of the specified TNEMEC Series 156 Enviro-Crete coating product before any mural/logo can be painted on the pedestal, according to the bid documents.