Drink up: Central Unified schools add filtered water filling stations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kids on the playground need to rehydrate after working up a good sweat. At Northwest Fresno's Saroyan Elementary, students have a new filtered water filling station to help with rehydration.

They can thank their classmates past and present for coming up with the idea.

Ella Newton, who is now a 7th grader at Rio Vista Middle School said, "It feels really great because I feel like a lot of kids because I know a lot bring water bottles but they won't be able to fill them back up because the water fountains don't work."

Newton was part of last year's robotics team which worked on a hydrodynamics project.

Saroyan Robotics Team coach Vickie Reed recalled a conversation she had with the kids, "They were saying we don't have water in the lunch lines. We don't have water for breakfast or at lunch."

Now they can fill up with cool filtered water during lunch and other breaks. The kids said the filling station is a much better alternative than the fountain.

Rio Vista 7th grader Ivan Lorenzo explained, "Lips could've been on them. They could've been unsanitized. I'm used to the water but I would smell things like chlorine in it."

The kids were able to tap into a $55,000 grant through Kaiser Permanente to have the filling station installed.

Dr. Casey Gray from Kaiser Permanente Fresno said, "I can't tell you how excited to tell everyone that we get to offer this now as a healthy alternative to things like juices and sodas."

The students were thrilled to learn their idea spread far beyond Saroyan. Central Unified Superintendent Andy Alvarado said of the expansion, "Not only provide a water filling station here at Saroyan but water filling stations at 23 sites throughout the district."

The filling stations were similar to those installed at middle schools and other campuses in Fresno Unified.
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