Town/Gown Alliance in Water Tower Paint Project


Newly painted campus water tower helps build a sense of place.

Construction projects across Rowan transformed the main campus this summer, but one literally stands out above the rest.

On the east side of campus, just north of Route 322, a formerly sky blue water tower now announces you're in "Historic Glassboro, Home of Rowan University."

The tower, erected in the early 1970s, hadn't been painted since, and its fresh coat of paint seals and protects the structure, extending its life. In addition to supplying water for sinks, showers and bathrooms, the tower supports fire suppression systems on campus and in the community.

"This project is another example of the productive partnership Glassboro enjoys with Rowan University,” said Glassboro Councilman George Cossabone.  "We have shared the cost of the repainting as a preventative maintenance measure that protects against rust and deterioration.  The collaboration also helps Glassboro and Rowan establish a sense of place with the tower’s color and message."  

One of several towers providing water pressure throughout the borough, the structure was built for Rowan (then Glassboro State College) through a town/gown collaboration in which the local water utility shares the cost of upkeep with the University.

At a cost of $578,000 – sixty percent of which the borough paid and forty percent paid by Rowan – the tower was drained, sandblasted, and spray-painted inside and out. Rowan's Office of Publications designed the 40-foot by 12-foot historic motif with colors representing both the University and Borough.

"The goal wasn't aesthetics alone," said Kyle A. Gandy, Rowan director of energy management and University engineer. "Painting the tower prevents corrosion and extends the life of the tank."

Standing more than 130 feet tall, the tower has a diameter of 55 feet in its middle and holds a half million gallons of water. It was fully covered during the project to contain dust and debris.

Other campus construction projects this summer included the building of an all-new, student-designed 9/11 Memorial and renovation of the Edgewood Park apartments complex. Off campus, the Borough completed a new red brick sidewalk from the Whitney Center to the south side of Route 322 and land preparation along Rowan Boulevard for the new College of Graduate and Continuing Education building.

In addition to the water tower, Rowan and the Borough are partners with private developers in the $300 million Rowan Boulevard project, which links the main campus with Glassboro’s downtown corridor. Now under construction and almost all privately funded, the project is transforming downtown with a mix of student housing, shopping, academic space, dining, entertainment, and outdoor public areas. All of the buildings along the Boulevard, including those built for student housing, are privately owned and generate property tax revenue that supports the Borough.