Bay City Central High School is promoting healthier lifestyles for its students with new water filtration stations.

A partnership with the Delta Dental Foundation of Michigan and MESSA, a non-profit health benefit provider for school employees made the two water stations possible. The stations, one located in the gymnasium and one in a high traffic hallway, ensure pure, clean water to students, who were provided reusable water bottles by the foundation to cut down on plastic waste.

(photo by Michael Percha)

The Rethink Your Drink: Water’s Cool at School provides students with a healthier alternative to sugary drinks like soda or energy drinks. The foundation has set up 88 stations around the state and have provided 51,403 reusable water bottles totaling more than $300,000.

Bay City Central Principal Tim Marciniak says he’s seen an increase of students using the stations.

“Ever since we received this filtration system… you’re seeing more and more students walking around with water bottles… Every student received their own water bottle, and now you walk around, that’s what’s in the backpacks now.”

Bay City School District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Bigelow says he hopes to see more of the stations installed around the district if taxpayers approve a bond proposal in May 2020.

“Part of it is looking at bathroom renovations throughout the district and along with the bathroom renovations, we’re looking updating some of our water stations. So if we’re able to do that, in cooperation with Delta and MESSA, that would be great. ”

The hallway station, in place for about four months, has also prevented more than 4,300 single use plastic bottles from entering landfills. The gym station has been in place for about a year and has prevented nearly 47,000 bottles from going into the trash.