Pulled Away From the Brink of Collapse – The Water Tower in San Nicolas Has Been Restored!

San Nicolas — The construction phase on the restoration project of the Water Tower in San Nicolas has come to conclusion. Rene Kan, President of the island’s Monumentenfonds, expressed a great sense of satisfaction having received the building from the construction company, fully restored to its formal glory, ahead of time, and below budget.

Two government entities collaborated on the restoration of the historic water tower, Stichting Monumentenfonds, the Monument Fund Foundation, and the Monumentenbureau, the Monument Bureau. While the first secured the financing for the restoration work, the second took the lead to supervise all technical aspects of the undertaking.

Kan, who is the president of the foundation reports the project was begun on April 2nd, 2012, and was scheduled to conclude on April 2nd, 2013. The building, he states, was transferred to the Monument Bureau on March 8th, 2013, ahead of scheduled by almost one full month.

Ing. Yvonne Webb-Kock, Director of the Monumentenbureau, congratulated Kan and Anne Witsenburg, the Director of Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba on the great news that funds saved by the early completion, about 5% of the investment, will be put into another equally-important restoration project.

As president of Stichting Monumentenfonds, Kan shared the good news with the community, in view of the fact that very few projects are brought to conclusion on time and under budget, here.

A number of companies deserve recognition, Kan states, for their excellent team work on the project among them the Monumentenbureau, Earon Matthew of Plan D2 architectural bureau, as well as local companies such as PIB NV, HJC NV, Ace Civiel Laboratorium, Albo Aruba NV, CHS, Croon, ASA, Arubaanse Maatschappij and Martinez Landscaping.

According to Kan, the extensive preparation and meticulous planning paid off, and while it took considerable time to work every detail out, under solid management and caring supervision, it all came together magnificently in spite of the inherent technical challenges working on a building designed in 1939!

Under Monumentenbureau’s management, in collaboration with the architects and builders, sub-contractors and consultants, Aruba now enjoys a gem of a historical building.

Ing. Yvonne Webb-Kock and all of her associates at the Monumentenbureau, deserve praise for the dedication they show for any project they undertake, and for pushing everyone in the right direction in order to one by one, realizing the dream of total monument restoration in Aruba, paying homage to the past and connecting it to our future.

The water tower, which was owned by WEB Aruba NV, Aruba’s water agency, was gifted to the Monument Bureau, a number of years ago. As a matter of fact, Aruba is blessed by two identical elegantly designed water towers, one in Oranjestad already restored, and the second in San Nicholas. Both towers came into use at the end of the 30s, and served as water reservoirs with a maximum capacity of 400 liters. The two towers became obsolete when WEB Aruba NV opened its current plant in Balashi. Subsequently the water towers accommodated several government offices, then as they dilapidated they were abandoned, falling into a state of disrepair. In recent years the San Nicholas tower started leaning on its side, and the need for restoration became imminent, for fear of the building collapse.

Finally with the financing in place, the building was saved and will become an asset to its neighboring community.

Conservation of historical buildings in Aruba started in 1985 with the aim of preserving monuments at risk of being lost. With the completion of the San Nicholas water tower restoration another piece of the island’s cultural heritage was pulled away from the brink of destruction.

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March 12, 2013
Rona Coster