No matter where you go in Montgomery Blair's 375,000 square foot building, water is not far. It is no wonder that many of us take fountains for granted. But try living without water. To honor the source of life, it's time we give Blair's fountains their due respect. In that reverent spirit, please join me as we take a splash into the varied and often quirky sips and drips of Blair.
The Student Activity Center
Senior Komlan Kouhiko goes out of his way to quench his thirst at the SAC fountains. "Even if I'm on the third floor, I'll come down to the SAC," he says. "I feel like a new man after drinking that water." Of course, time is of the essence when traveling from one class to another, so if, like Kouhiko, you take a detour to visit the SAC, the fountains reward you by shooting out water at a high velocity, almost over the basin and onto the floor.
Yet as students gather in the SAC before the start of school each morning, few of them engage these entertaining power fountains, walking grudgingly past them as they are still waking up. Take, for example, junior Emily Guthrie. "I've used a water fountain in the SAC once in my life," she says with disdain.
The 160s hallway
After exiting the SAC, especially after lunch, students might want to gulp down a little water. So, often, they will make a quick turn off onto Silver Spring Avenue (the 160s hallway), where, within a few feet, lie three convenient fountains—or so it may seem. Currently, only one of the three is in operation, leading to the occasional backup. But rest assured, few are fighting for that water before first block classes. You see, this is one of those dreaded fountains that has trouble waking up, and produces warm water for the first part of the day. Kouhiko, who walks through the 160s hall to get to first period, is particularly troubled by the fountain's output. "That water fountain is always hot in the morning. And that's when I'm stressed and trying to get some fresh water," he says agitatedly.
The gym hallway
There is always need for thirst-quenching liquid after a tough P.E. class. So what better placement for water than right outside the gym? A lone, vertically challenged fountain rests within a cut out section of the wall. There is no other fountain like it at Blair. But for Guthrie, it leaves a lot to be desired. "I don't really like the water fountain in the gym hallway because there's no tall one, only a short one," she says. Senior Jacob Kirkendall, on the other hand, is much more fond of this fountain. "The water itself is the same, but it's colder… it's just colder," he says, suddenly craving water from outside the gym.
There's not much to talk about on the second floor beyond some bizarre locations of fountains. Most halls in Blair do not hold a single fountain, yet on the second floor's Sligo Creek Avenue, there's not one, not two, but three pairs, positioned across the hall from each other. The challenge, as sophomore Anne-Laure Kouame explains, is leaving class in the 250s hallway and having to decide between equidistant fountains. "I always struggle to know which water fountain to go to when I leave class," she explains. It's a tough life.
Connecting the third floor Blair Boulevard to Sligo Creek Avenue is a spacious hallway with four working water fountains. One has a wooden handle—the only one of its kind in the school. But the real appeal of these fountains is the lack of traffic through the hall, which makes for a more pleasant drinking experience. Just ask junior Leah Damo. "Drinking water [in the 320s hall] brings me joy," she muses. "The hallway is always empty so you don't have to worry about people running into your [behind]. And all of the fountains work, which is a plus."
The only push-button water fountains in the school are located on the third floor. While the water gets little altitude from the spout, pushing the button provides a good thumb workout. Some might enjoy that extra obstacle in taking in their water, but not junior Redietu Haile. "I go there in the morning and I don't want to push that much just to get a little water," he vents. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining, as he explains. "Now at least I can probably beat everyone in thumb wrestling."
We can all drink to that.