Things are cooling off at Ilima Intermediate School, thanks to five chilled water fountains that were just installed.
We first told you about the problems with the old water fountains last week, which drew complaints from parents and students. One of the fountains didn’t work at all and the rest provided warm water.
We went back to the school in Ewa Beach Friday and, understandably, the kids are thrilled with the new fountains.
The principal says more improvements are on the way to help the kids cool off, including air conditioning for the classrooms.
Since the school year started, temperatures have been near or at 90 degrees every day. With no air conditioning in the classrooms, cold water can provide plenty of relief.
“For folks that live here in the Ewa Beach community who know what the heat is like for those who do not have the luxury of having air conditioning in their homes,” said principal Christopher Bonilla.
The new fountains are state of the art with a separate spout to fill up water bottles.
It includes a lesson in helping the environment. There’s a counter that lets students know how many plastic water bottles they’re taking out of the landfill as they fill their own bottles.
“They’re not only learning it, they’re actually living it, seeing the application from in the classroom to outside,” Bonilla said.
Seventh-grader Le Hiley said she drank from the fountain several times Friday “because it was so hot today,” and the water was “ten times” better than before.
All the water fountains are placed on the second floor of each building and there’s a good reason for that. It’s because they can lock it off with gates when the campus is closed.
The Department of Education says vandalism is a big problem with these new fountains, and at $2,000 each, the fountains need to be protected.
Bonilla is looking to bring more on the first floor and still keep them protected.
“We’re working with the facilities and maintenance branch to look at specifically cages that we can put on to the water fountains after school when everybody’s off campus to protect it from vandalism,” Bonilla said.
We’ve learned that the school is also second on the DOE list to get air conditioning in the classrooms, so those improvements could be just a few months away.
A spokesman for DOE says four more schools in Leeward Oahu are scheduled to get chilled water fountains within the next few months: Kamaile Elementary, Leihoku Elementary, Nanaikapono Elementary, and Nanakuli High School.