Water Bottle-Filling Stations and New Parking Lot

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
TMCC Students Samantha and Victor Image

TMCC Students Samantha and Victor hold water bottles to be handed out by SGA, administrators and volunteers during the first days of classes. A new parking lot is nearing completion.

Students will return on Aug. 29 to a breezier educational journey—and by journey, that means more trouble-free parking, and drinking water for the trek to classrooms at Truckee Meadows Community College.

A new paved lot is providing 400 additional parking spaces. Other lots are being repaired before the first day of classes. TMCC staff will also be stationed around campus, handing out 1,000 refillable plastic water bottles students can use to stay hydrated while walking to and from class.

New East Parking Lot

“We are on schedule for the new lot to be open for the beginning of the semester with four electric vehicle charging stations coming online within the first few days of classes,” said Dave Roberts, Executive Director for Facilities Operations and Capital Planning. “We still advise people not to park along Dandini Blvd.”

Signs will also indicate directions to the new East Parking Lot.

“There will be a crosswalk with flashers across Campus Loop Road and a sidewalk from the new lot to the existing Sierra Building walkway,” Roberts said. “Ease of accessibility and safety considerations are top priorities.”

Power-efficient LED lighting is being installed at the new east parking lot. This measure will conserve energy while providing the necessary illumination, Roberts added.

Water Bottles Hand-off

When Karin Hilgersom, PhD, President of TMCC, found out that there was an existing tradition to hand out water bottles to students arriving for the first hot, dry days of Fall classes, she both liked the tradition and wanted to expand it into something more sustainable and earth-friendly, said Jill Atkinson, Director of Equity and Inclusion.

Other TMCC administrators, including Barbara Buchanan, PhD, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Estela Levario Gutierrez, Vice President of Student Services, agreed, and a new project was born.

“Dr. Hilgersom proposed and supported the concept of not only handing out to students water bottles, but refillable and reusable containers,” Atkinson said. “In addition to conserving water, reusable containers will generate a lot less solid waste into landfills. It’s an eco-friendly option.”

Student Government Association officers, administration officials, staff and volunteers will be handing out bisphenol A, bisphenol S- (BPA/BPS)-free black transparent bottles with TMCC's green logo while supplies last.

“The goal is to serve students; it’s still hot and they may have a long walk carrying books or supplies,” she said.

The bottles will be able to be refilled at new Brita® Hydration Stations® dispensing filtered water. Hydration Stations will be installed at many TMCC sites during Fall Semester.

Hydration Stations

Student Government Association (SGA) is supporting the Hydration Stations with a donation of $12,000 that was matched by TMCC. There will be five stations at the Dandini Campus, two at Meadowood Center, two at the William N. Pennington Health Science Center and two at the William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center (ATC). Stations at the ATC will be integrated into Phase II renovation and remodel. All units will be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

SGA provided input into identifying the best high-traffic areas for installation of the new stations. The locations of water-filling units on the Dandini Campus are as follows:

  • V. James Eardley Student Center, near the Dr. Maria C. Sheehan Fitness Center
  • Red Mountain Building, second floor, near rooms 200 and 201
  • Red Mountain Building, third floor, near the 315 office group
  • Vista Building, first floor, near room B106
  • Sierra Building, first floor, near room 100

The stations are manufactured by Haws Corporation, including materials provided by Western Nevada Supply. Haws is an international company with headquarters in Sparks.

“This has been a cooperative effort between these two local companies,” Atkinson said. “Haws offered Western Nevada Supply a discount, and Western Nevada Supply passed that discount on to us. Haws Corporation is also donating engraving so the Student Government Association can be credited for their contribution.”

Engraving will appear above each unit. Atkinson also thanks TMCC’s Facilities Operations and Capital Planning Department for their efforts coordinating with Haws.

“Facilities is doing a lot of work to help ensure that the stations will be ready on the Dandini Campus near the beginning of the Fall Semester,” she added.

Hydration Stations Will Benefit the College and Environment

“Dr. Hilgersom, whose vision of TMCC is one of a healthy campus, was the innovative leader who promoted this project,” Atkinson said. “Dr. Hilgersom recognizes the environmental impact single-use bottles have and was interested in a solution that combats these impacts.”

TMCC will be joining the ranks of many colleges around the nation that are adopting water bottle filling stations. New units will not only benefit students, but the entire region:

  • By reducing the number of single-use bottles consumed, TMCC is reducing the amount of waste these bottles produce and the carbon footprint of their production, distribution and disposal.
  • Northern Nevada has limited water; these stations will minimize the water that goes down the drain—in contrast to the use of a water fountain.
  • Conserving water is another way that TMCC, a large water user, reduces the ecological footprint of the institution on the environment.
  • This is one of the many projects the College is undertaking to conserve resources; in the same spirit as using energy efficiently and creating renewable energy in solar panels.

Filters will be replaced in each unit every 2,500 gallons. The Hydration Stations also provide the ability to measure impact.

“There’s a counting feature that lets us know how many single-use bottles have not been added to the landfill,” Atkinson said.

For more information, please contact Atkinson at 775-673-7123 or TMCC Facilities Operations and Capital Planning at 775-673-7100.