New water tower at Hereford High

The old water tower at Hereford High School, at left, will be torn down this summer to make way for a planned addition at the school. The old tower's replacement stands at right. It has a greater water capacity than the old tower, and it soon will be painted white with the words Hereford High School in black. (Photo by Phil Grout / January 19, 2012)

No need to get your eyes checked. There really are two water towers at Hereford High School.

Construction crews completed assembling a new tower last month. Students and teachers who were outside during a fire drill on Dec. 9 stayed to watch a 60-ton crane place the water tower's top onto the pole.

The new tower resembles a light bulb sitting on a single pole. It will be painted white and the words "Hereford High School" will be painted in black.

Hereford Principal Andrew Last said the tower couldn't be painted Hereford maroon because the color would fade and the tower would be pink in a few years.


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It will be painted this year and new pipes will be installed under the parking lot once school is out for the summer. The $1.2 million tower construction contract was awarded to Caldwell Tanks of Kentucky.

The original tower, built for the new junior-senior high school in 1953, will be taken down this summer. It holds 75,000 gallons of water. The new tower's capacity is 125,000 gallons.

"The old one has leaks and other issues that make it noncompliant, so it had to go," Last said..

For many years, Hereford seniors climbed the tower to spray paint it with their graduation year. In 1997, students and teachers drank bottled water for a week after pigeons got inside the tower and contaminated the water.

Last said the old tower also had to go because it will be in the way of construction of proposed addition at the rear of the school.

The planned addition to Hereford is on hold, waiting for state funds to be available, according to Charlie Herndon, Baltimore County schools spokesman.

Plans call for the state to contribute $16.6 million, while the county would fund $34.3 million, Herndon said.

The school's capacity is 1,200 students and current enrollment is 1,382. The school has seven classroom trailers on its south parking lot to accommodate the additional students.

The proposed addition will include a new cafeteria and as many as 11 science classrooms. The current cafeteria would be converted into classroom space.