Posted by: Staff | 12.04.2007

Spotlight: The Water Fountain Roundup


Not all Beaver water fountains are created equal. In fact, they used to be downright erratic. Many of you must remember that before this year, the water fountain in the library was incredibly overpowered and super-sensitive. The fountain by the preschool used to be dismal. Ah, but remember the old one by Sawtell Gym? (I reckon very few of you do.) I was always a fan of that one, although I seem to remember a bit of controversy about that.

Since then, the fountains have become markedly more consistent. Here’s my roundup. Frankly, there’s not a lot to say. The water quality generally seems identical. But I include the peak stream height (measured from the point it leaves the faucet), accessibility information (according to the Americans with Disabilities Act), and some other interesting information. Most of you will know all this by now, but it’s critically important information for newer students.

Miscellaneous Trivia

All fountains are manufactured by Halsey Taylor, “Satisfying thirsts since 1912”–a mere 8 years before Beaver was founded!

These are all technically water coolers, not water fountains, because they do refrigerate the water. They are all intended to provide water at 50° F.

The brand name of the water fountain/cooler by the cafeteria is “Voyager.” Ironically, a painting entitled “The Voyager” hangs over the library fountain.

PC0300151st Floor, Arts Building [double set]:

OVL-II-SER-Q; meets legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 8 cm (tall one) / 10 cm (short one); somewhat disappointing water; note that they cannot both run simultaneously, but instead are reduced to a slow trickle.

PC030037 1st Floor, by the “cafeteria-style dining hall”:

HTV8Q 1; meets legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 8 cm; nice and cold and quite satisfying, but the whole unit is awfully low; buttons are easiest to press, but also easy to accidentally bump into.

PC0300361st Floor, by the preschool [double set]:

HAC8FSCBL0; meets legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 10 cm; pretty good water; unlike the OVL series, both can function simultaneously without interruption.

PC030014 2nd Floor, Arts Building [double set]:

OVL-II-SER-Q; meets legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 7 cm (both); essentially identical to set on 1st floor, except for stream height; again, they can’t run simultaneously.

PC030013 2nd Floor, Middle School Wing:

S500-5D-1* (*best guess); does not meet legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 7 cm; all around, pretty average; an old favorite of mine from my middle school days; thumb-push button is not as easy as, say, the HTV Series; height can be an advantage for some and a disadvantage to others.

PC0300122nd Floor, Upper School Wing:

S500-5D-1; does not meet legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 7-8 cm; all around average; sister fountain to the Middle School Wing one. It lacks the small stool that the Middle School fountain features.

PC030038 Library (“The Voyager”)

WM8AQ_1Q* (*best guess); does not meet legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 9-10 cm, impressive but still a serious downgrade from last year; aside from height, the water is downright delicious; likely the best water fountain in the whole school; height of the unit is especially nice; button action is superb.

PC030039Outside the Library

WM8AQ_1Q; does not meet legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 7 cm; sister fountain to The Voyager, but not nearly as good; still, a major improvement over past years, when getting more than a trickle out of it was nearly impossible

PC030040Language Wing / S5 [double set]

HACBL-A L/R; meets legal accessibility requirements

Peak stream height: 10 cm (both); can run simultaneously; sister fountains to the preschool pair


“The Voyager,” in the library, is the one clear standout in the crowd. Others are satisfying; some are disappointing.

Average quality has improved dramatically over the past few years. Of course, accessibility remains an issue, and quality could easily lapse again. I hereby call for a survey of the school’s water fountains every four years, in order to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same consistent water supply that we do today.

Personally? I recommend we get a few of Halsey Taylor’s Explosion Proof Coolers. You know, just in case.

P.S. I realize that I am missing the water fountains in the gyms. This is just for the main building, but don’t worry, that’s coming soon!

Update 6/Dec/07: corrected a couple things pointed out by Nick and Mr. Manning. (Unfortunately, the “cafeteria” language in the poll is already set in stone.)



  1. SIMPLY RIVETING TOPH! I have never been so enthralled by something as mundane as a water fountain, but now you have me hooked. From now on, I will only fill my nalgene up in the library.

  2. I’m honored, Maddy! Thank you. And I hope it doesn’t turn out that the library fountain water is poisoned or something. I wouldn’t want to be giving bad advice! 🙂

  3. For best sound effects and most unpredictable flow I’d like to nominate the water dispenser in the dining room. Glub-glub, SPLASH!, glub-glub. The preschool fountain is mighty convenient for me, but I have some qualms about its, ahem, cleanliness. The library cooler is a hike but maybe I could work up a thirst walking, briskly, there to sample Beaver’s “best” water. Will add the detour to my to-do list!

  4. I myself am TERRIFIED of the pre-school water fountain. I do not beleive that pre-schoolers have learned about the whole “don’t put your mouth on the fountain” bit. I’ve seen many a pre-schooler slobber all over the water dispenser. That’s too close of a school community for me.

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