ORLANDO, Fla. – University of Central Florida Student Government Association floated an idea on Facebook to install outdoor drinking fountains around campus, the first of which would be in front of the Psychology Building at Memory Mall.
The drinking fountain and water bottle-filling station, plus installation -- including plumbing and a concrete slab that complies with the access guidelines in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act --would cost around $15,000, according to the post.
“After numerous requests from students, the UCF Student Government Association launched an initiative to find ways to install an additional outdoor water fountain with a bottle-filling station on Memory Mall," a UCF SGA spokesperson said in a statement. "We are in the early stages of our review and will continue to research the project’s cost and feasibility. The first proposal we received projects the cost of the water fountain at $5,552. There would be more costs for installation, including re-piping and the addition of an ADA-compliant concrete slab. We value the voices of the student body, and we are listening. We will make the best decision possible to represent the needs, desires and safety of our students."
The money would come from SGA funds "specifically reserved to assist students with Conference, Registration and Travel (CRT) expenses," according to the Facebook post.
Most buildings around campus already have drinking fountains but they are indoors.
Freshman Dillon Wingate said an outdoor fountain, especially on the busy, sun-scorched Memory Mall, would provide welcome relief.
"Putting a water fountain here (on Memory Mall), where there's not really places to get water, would be a good idea, I think," Wingate said.
Freshman Katie Fitzpatrick especially appreciates the idea of a water bottle filling station.
"Water bottles are so overused and it's easy to fill up a reusable water bottle and it's so common now. I feel like that would be useful and helpful," Fitzpatrick said.
But several students voiced opposition to the cost of the fountain.
"That's a terrible idea -- way too expensive," freshman Capucine Humeau said. "I would just go in the building and get water. They have some in the buildings."
Some students said they don't want their tuition or public dollars at a public university used for a water fountain.
"There are so many kids paying for it out of their pockets -- whether it's loans, full-time jobs -- just to pay for their school, and it's so hard," Fitzpatrick said.
Jonna Dimaria, a senior, said her tuition would be better spent on academics.
"If it's my money I'm using for school, I want it to go for books or classes," Dimaria said.
The SGA posting on Facebook asked students to share their opinions, either for the fountain or against it.