Standing 140 ft tall and 34 ft in diameter, a brightly painted, balloon-shaped water tank offers a cheery greeting in the distance as campers approach these festive grounds in North Carolina.
Caldwell Tanks of Louisville, Ky., helped create this unique tank design for Kyle and Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, which opened last summer to provide a haven for chronically ill children.
The camp’s picturesque setting is 72 acres of land surrounded by forest, located in Randleman, N.C., about 15 minutes from Greensboro. Decorated with a vividly colorful NASCAR theme, the camp offers swimming, horseback riding, arts and crafts, theatre, music and dance.
Up to 125 children, ages 7 to 15, stay there each week during the summer. Smaller, illness-specific camp sessions are offered the rest of the year. The camp’s goal is to allow children to get together and have fun, so they can forget about the harsh reality of their lives for a little while, in a place where they don’t feel so different from other kids.
An independent not-for-profit organization founded by actor Paul Newman and the Pettys, Victory Junction is part of Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Association of camps.
During the camp’s design and construction phase, the architect asked Caldwell Tanks to make the water tank look like a hot air balloon. With the help of the architect and Richard Petty, the company created a design concept based on the pedesphere tank style.
Although the multicolor paint job on the tank itself was nothing out of the ordinary, the additional design elements required a customized approach.
Don Stilger, vice president of engineering at Caldwell Tanks, designed the structure’s unique “basket” section, which workers fabricated in Louisville and then shipped to the site. Caldwell donated a significant portion of the costs for adding the basket.
“It’s always exciting to work on a high profile project like that, with Richard Petty visiting the site and all. You get an extra sense of pride,” Stilger said.
The pedesphere elevated water storage tank offers many features in addition to its simple lines. The slender single-support column does not contain water; it securely encloses the access ladders and connecting piping to the tank. The flared base section is accessible only through a lockable door, and there is enough room there for pumps, controls or storage.
Caldwell Tanks provides pedesphere style tanks in a wide range of capacities, all in full accordance with the AWWA standards. These spherically shaped tanks are available in capacities from 25,000 to 150,000 gal. The tank constructed for Victory Junction holds the maximum capacity of 150,000 gal.
When even greater capacities are required, tanks are constructed with a spheroidal shape. In these cases, the pedestal shaft and base cone diameters are varied to suit individual design requirements and conditions.
Elevated water tanks of all shapes are designed to serve two main purposes: equalizing water storage volume and emergency water storage.
Equalizing storage is the amount of water necessary to fulfill the peak hourly demands of the community. Between the late night and early morning hours, when the demand for water is very low, high lift pumps fill the elevated water storage tanks. This allows for a uniform flow rate to the water treatment plant and the pumping station.
Typically, the capacity of a water storage tank is equal to the average daily water demand.
Caldwell’s tanks are built by employees experienced in water tank construction and thoroughly trained on the industry’s unique safety issues. All field crew members are certified welders, with extensive experience constructing all types of tanks.
In addition, all field personnel receive safety training from Caldwell’s Safety Director and all tank accessories and construction methods are in compliance with OSHA regulations.
Stilger and the others feel good about the work they did for Victory Junction. He explained, “If we can put a smile on someone’s face, it’s certainly an added bonus on top of providing the functionality of the water service itself … It’s rewarding to know that we helped in some way.”