In 2016 independent Bedfordshire day school, Bedford Modern School (BMS), began looking for ways to improve its hydration facilities for students. The existing traditional-style drinking fountains available on site were not universally popular, with many pupils finding them awkward, messy and undignified. With water playing such an important role in health and concentration, the school was seeking a new alternative that would appeal to both students and staff, while helping to reduce the waste plastic produced on site. MIW Water Cooler Experts was recruited to advise upon and manage the project.
As a highly rated educational establishment, BMS has high standards to maintain. Consequently, the school had a very specific set of requirements from MIW.
MIW was initially consulted in an advisory capacity. The BMS Project Management Team needed to know what equipment was available to suit the school’s needs, whether it could be installed in the locations held by the existing drinking fountains without significant groundwork, and the logistics leading to installation.
The equipment installed needed to be multifunctional, providing bottle filling facilities and drinking fountains for students and staff. With a rapid refill rate to cater for the students at peak times between lessons without causing delays, the units also needed to be easy to use and maintain, and durable. The units also needed to be visually pleasing to match the school’s aesthetic and attract as much student use as possible.
It was essential that all drinking equipment provided by MIW adhered to strict water authority guidelines, and was accessible for all, according to the Equality Act (2010).
Once appropriate equipment had been identified, MIW would be responsible for sourcing 10 units, customising them with the school livery, organising logistics and installing all of the units under a turnkey rental agreement.
With traditional water dispensers already in place throughout BMS, the main challenge for MIW was to identify units that would meet the school’s brief without necessitating too much additional groundwork and disruption.
The MIW team recommended the installation of WRAS-approved (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) Halsey Taylor chilled indoor bottle fillers with drinking fountains for BMS. The WRAS approval guaranteed that the units would meet the stringent standards set by the water authority, while ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) approval meant that the units would be fully compliant with the UK Equality Act (2010). Capable of processing up to 1.5 gallons of chilled drinking water per minute, there was no question over whether these fillers and fountains would be able to meet the demands of the school. The hands-free bottle filling mechanism and antimicrobial coating also meant that it would be possible to maintain a high degree of hygiene, despite being accessed by almost 1,000 regular users.
The Completed Project
MIW implemented a roll out over and 18-month period for 10 bottle refill stations with drinking fountains for Bedford Modern School. The project was completed on time and on budget.
Ray Fulton, Estates and Facilities Manager at the school, said: ‘The choice to fill a bottle makes this drinking water solution very attractive, the feedback and uptake from students has been excellent. I would definitely recommend this product to other schools.’
Since the 2016 installation, MIW has operated a regular servicing and sanitation programme for BMS, ensuring that the drinking water units remain hygienic, accessible and appealing to every new intake of students.