News stories

Fountain flows with UFT’s help

Miller Photography

The staff gathers around the new fountain after the ribbon-cutting.

Miller Photography

Teacher Steve Watson fills his water bottle.

With the UFT’s help, a problem at the International HS at Prospect Heights is now water under the bridge and a state-of-the-art water station is making a big splash.

In 2017, students at the Brooklyn school raised thousands of dollars to purchase and install a refrigerated filling station in the 95-year-old building because “many of our water fountains didn’t have a lot of pressure and the water was warm,” said Chapter Leader Rosemarie Frascella.

The students ran movie nights, sold popcorn and homemade food, solicited faculty donations and convinced the principal to kick in some cash from the school budget. The bottle-filling station was installed in June, but a lab test in August found lead levels higher than permissible in water flowing through the station.

“I had a meeting with the UFT and the city (the Department of Education’s Division of School Facilities),” said Frascella. “They found a particle of lead stuck in the nozzle of the bottle-filling station.”

The particle was removed, the water was retested and it cleared.

“When the union came out, that was part of the reason the city paid attention and tested the water a lot faster without dragging their feet,” Frascella said.

The station opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 5.

“The students are really happy,” said Frascella, “and we have the Cadillac of bottle-filling stations: the water is cold, it’s refreshing and it’s fast.”

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