For many high school students, drinking fountains and water bottle refill stations are convenient and important ways to stay hydrated.
Due to COVID-19, drinking fountains were decommissioned and students were forced to bring their own water bottles. Puyallup High School has only one water bottle refill station, but according to Dave Sunich, that is about to change.
“We recently ordered three new water bottle filling stations,” Sunich said.
With the addition of the three new refill stations, students will no longer have to wait in line for the one refill station, located on the first floor of the main building.
Sunich said that there are many benefits to the new addition of the refill stations, an important one being accessibility.
Installation of the new refill stations will happen at various locations around campus: one on the third floor, one on the second floor of the main building and one in the lobby of the gym.
“Lots of people carry water bottles these days and particularly during [COVID-19] when the water fountains were closed. The water bottle filling stations have been open so having that accessible to all kids in more locations will benefit everyone,” Sunich said. “They also help us avoid using single-use plastic water bottles that are so bad for the environment.”
Along with this accessibility for students, the addition of the new water bottle refill stations will add accessibility for athletes.
“The initial push for them came as water fountains were closed due to [COVID-19]. Teams practicing in the gym didn’t have access to the existing water bottle filling station because the main building is locked in the evenings and most times when teams are practicing,” Sunich said.
The new locations will provide more opportunities, Sunich said, so they don’t have to walk across campus or down to the first floor to fill their water bottles.
“So many kids tend to carry their own water bottles right now, these stations seem like they’ll get a lot more use than a normal fountain,” Sunich said.
New equipment can be expensive and PHS found funding through multiple sources.
“We received donations from the PHS Alumni Association, a couple of our athletic programs and we used funds from our general school budget,” Sunich said. “The fountains themselves are probably about $1,000 each and those have already been purchased and delivered. Each one, depending on all the installations and the plumbing, would be up to $2,000 for each one.”
As the water bottle refill stations have already been delivered, according to Sunich, District Facilities just need to install them.
“We are just waiting on our district facilities and our plumber to be able to get over and do it, so we are hoping in the next couple weeks we will be able to get that done and have those ready to go,” Sunich said.