LINWOOD — When caring, creative and community minded people come together, ideas and plans have the potential to flow. In the recent case of two new water station installations at Belhaven Middle School and Seaview Elementary School, water also flows when people come together.
A number of months ago, community volunteer June Dix suggested installing water stations in the schools. The idea was to both help keep the students, faculty and staff hydrated and also help educate the students on the value of using refillable water bottles rather than disposable bottles that sometimes end up in landfills when not recycled.
The idea was brought to Co-Presidents of Linwood Education Foundation Megan Mostecki and Lauren Gibson. Both Mostecki and Gibson, along with their board of directors, agreed the request should be funded through a grant from the LEF. Along with logistical problems, including where to place the first unit, the cost also came in extremely high at $10,000 for each unit. This posed a major concern in both cost and the potential for the units to be installed.
Here is when the creativity and caring part of the community started to flow. Once the potential concerns of funding and installation were shared, additional groups of people jumped in to find solutions. The first group was the Linwood Parent Teachers Organization led by Co-Presidents Jessica Goldstein and Erica Winters. The PTO agreed to split the cost for purchase and installation, allowing both schools to receive the water stations.
The next team to get creative included Superintendent Brian Pruitt, Belhaven Principle Susan Speirs, Seaview Principal Georgette Meister and Linwood School staff member Pat Childs. The group came together to creatively find a way to have the water stations installed and also keep the cost for each unit as low as possible based on solutions surrounding the cost to install the units.
The three groups' combined efforts allowed the total cost for both units purchase and install to be just under $8,000. Their work together saved the funding sources of LEF and PTO a total of $12,000 off the original bid price of $20,000. The groups then used a portion of the savings to purchase re-useable plastic water bottles that include a place for students to write their name on the bottle. The funding was shared equally for both water stations, both installations and the 800-plus water bottles for each and every student.
The machines also record the amount of water dispersed and the number of disposable water bottles that will not be used thanks to the new water stations. Water and the environmental education is flowing at the Linwood Schools thanks to the creativity of the community.