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Missing water station angers Wheeler residents

By Jimmy Britt
On April 17, 2017

You’re in the final stretch of your run. Sweat is dripping down your face. All you can think about is getting a cold drink of water. With every step you get closer and closer to your dorm.

            As you open the door, your anticipation grows. You try to put your bottle under the water station – but you can’t.

It’s gone.

A piece of plywood covers a hole in the wall.

This is Wheeler Hall.

            For a month, the residents of Wheeler Hall haven’t be able to refill water bottles or drink filtered water in their building. They have to try to fit their bottles into small sinks or use cups or smaller bottles to fill other containers. Students have begun to voice they’re disapproval.

              “At first it wasn't that big of a deal because I figured they would put it back in soon, but since it hasn't been put back, I have been frustrated,” Wheeler resident Lindsey Reno said. “I always want to fill up my water at night before bed using the bottle station, but since it has been gone, I have to use the sink and my water bottle does not fit under the sink in my suite.”

            Fellow Wheeler resident Quentin Barthe is also disappointed that the matter hasn’t been resolved as quickly as he and his fellow residents were told. Like the other residents, he misses the ease of the station.

            “I hope the water station in Wheeler will be brought back because it is very useful. It's fresh water and it seems appropriate for the environment. I think we all make good use of these bottle stations,” Barthe said.

            Though students may have been left in the dark, progress on the water station is being made. Associate Director of Facilities Rick Wareing hopes the station will be back in a couple of weeks.

            This isn’t the first station on campus be broken or removed. Wareing said a couple others, including one in the Campus Center have died also and needed replacing, which frustrated students and members of the Student Government Association who paid for them. The one in Wheeler is the first that Facilities is trying to repair. Waering added that the units are getting old and the repair process has a learning curve.

            According to Wareing, the water station in Wheeler had a leak deep inside. Facilitates has taken time to make sure they found good replacement parts. New England Air, a company specializing in refrigeration, will be making the repairs the week of April 17.

            Unfortunately Castleton Facilities doesn’t have an employee who specializes in refrigeration and Freon.

            SGA leaders say they weren’t informed that the stations they paid for were broken and being removed. Members are now glad the school is repairing them.

“As both an SGA member and as a community advisor on campus, it’s hard to hear that a benefit to students is no longer a benefit,” South House CA and SGA Vice President of Community Relations Emma Blaiklock said. “Especially something that students enjoy, because it makes their lives easier and helps the campus.”

            This hits closer to home for her because the three dorm houses near the gymnasium complex are the only dorms on campus with no drinking fountains or filling stations. Students have to use the small sinks in their suites or the kitchen sinks in the basements.

            Blaiklock would love to see some type of station or water source added to the houses, but she wants to see the stations that need repair on campus be fixed first.

            “It’s hard because our facilities department is wonderful, they do a lot and they get a lot done,” Blaiklock said.

            Though this incident has been difficult, students and Facilities workers agree that filling stations are an asset to campus. According to a report from Associate Dean of Students Victoria Angis, the 22 stations on campus kept 451,162 plastic bottles out of landfalls last year alone.

            Angis believes the more we can do to reduce plastic in landfill the better. She and others hope for more filling stations in the future.

            “SGA has been good enough to pretty much purchase all the units that are on campus. We work out the price to get them and take care of all that kind of work,” Wareing said.

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