PITTSBURG — There’s nothing like a fresh, cool drink of water — and a new grant will make sure students have plenty.

Pittsburg Community Middle School, Lakeside Elementary and Westside Elementary were presented with a $20,000 grant to split between the schools.

The grant was coordinated through Live Well Crawford County funded through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’ Pathways to a Healthy Kansas to help purchase water bottle filling stations at the schools.

In cooperation with the district’s board, principals and teachers, students will be allowed to drink out of clear water bottles in class after a change in school policy.

“We want the students to try to embrace the ‘wellness movement’ to provide healthy lifestyles within the building,” PCMS Vice Principal Chris King said.

This type of water fountain will not only decrease the waiting time in line between classes to fill water bottles King said, it will also be more hygienic than the current fountains where students drink directly from the fountain.  

In addition to the grant, clear water bottles specially designed for USD250 students were donated to PCMS by Equity Bank.

“It’s a great way to help our community and our future … just a little bit of water can do so much for the community,” Equity Bank Manager Assistant Vice President Jennifer Trisler said.

Trisler said the bank has come to an agreement to purchase water bottles each year for sixth graders to continue to support the school’s initiative to encourage the consumption of water by students.

The elementary schools PTO’s and other groups have fundraising plans to make sure every student has a clear water bottle, Lakeside Principal Rhonda White said.

“We want kids to stay hydrated, which could make them healthier and reduce illness,” White said. “Research shows being hydrated is a good way to stay healthy.”

Lakeside will receive six fountains, Westside four and PCMS 10.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.