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Jeff Humphrey

Students Watch Tank Take Shape

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 4:22 p.m.

When students at Hamblen Elementary forfeited a small corner of their campus for construction of a new water tank, the kids had a lot of questions.

“Can you live in it,” asked a first grader attending a school assembly.

“You are not welcome to live in it. Nobody is going to live in it. But, we are going to spend time in there. Our maintenance staff, who come and check on it, are going to be in there every week,” explained Rich Proszek, City of Spokane Engineering.

As Spokane continues to grow, so does our need for water. A steel tank, taking shape near the school, will eventually hold two million gallons.

“It gets it to your house, and if there's extra, it goes into the water tower,” said Hamblen student Isaac Stuckrath after attending a presentation on how his neighborhood water system works.

Spokane's Water Department is almost constantly drawing down and refilling its reservoirs, depending on demand.

“So, while you are at school and while you are sleeping, we are slowly filling these tanks up to use again,” Proszek told the crowd of students gathered in Hamblen's cafeteria.

Some of the electricity used to pump water out of the ground and into a series of tanks on higher terrain, is generated by the City's own River Dam.

“So, why we are building a tank out there is, so that as the city grows, when people start using water at the same time, especially in the summer, we have extra water available to do that,” explained Proszek.

“I didn't know that they had to use a lot of cranes to actually lift the tank, that holds all the water, up on top of it,” remarked Hamblen student Kate Ham.

The tank itself will be welded together on the ground and slowly raised to the top of its South Hill pedestal.

“And on one day, probably before lunch, they'll pull it all the way up and set it on top. And then, it'll start looking more like a tank,” Proszek said of the heavy lifting.

The first graders who attended Proszek's presentation will be in their third-grade class before the new tank is put into service.

In the meantime, Hamblen's students will have a front row seat to an amazing engineering project.

“And, once we knew the water tower was going to be built here, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunities for our students to learn about this specific water tower but also, about the community water, how they can keep our water clean, how they can conserve water and, how it works altogether,” concluded Hamblen principal Stefanie Heinen.

Proszek says, right now plans call for painting the new tank “cloud white” so it will blend in better with the sky.

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