Hand dryers purchased for SCHS

Equipment expected to save $2,500 in paper costs
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Shawano Community High School students, staff and visitors will find less of a mess in the restrooms after the Shawano School Board agreed to spend more than $12,500 to replace paper towel bins with hand dryers.

The move to hand dryers started after Kori Halstead, a student at SCHS, made a presentation to the board in May and pointed out that the dryers would not only cut down on waste but save the district money.

Utilizing hand dryers at all the schools would eliminate the need for custodial staff to be constantly filling up the dispensers, Halstead said at the earlier meeting. The dryers can dry up to 1,000 pairs of hands for the same cost as a single paper towel.

Halstead had estimated that the total cost for installing hand dryers at all four Shawano School District would be $52,528.

The board took its first steps to make the change by voting 6-1 for a $12,528 for ProDryers of Livonia, Michigan to install 24 dryers in the high school’s main restrooms. Board member Rich Belongia cast the vote against the bid.

The bid is just for purchasing the dryers and adapter plates, according to Jeff Easter, the district’s building and maintenance director. He said his employees would be responsible for installing the dryers.

The district expects to recoup its costs within five years.

“It would save us a cost of about $2,500 every year from the number of paper towels we use,” Easter said.

Board member Alysia Pillsbury noted that she’s a fan of paper towels, but she believes the move should take place to save the district money.

“I wasn’t appreciating our bathroom situation on graduation night, and I was embarrassed by it,” Pillsbury said. “After that night, I was on board with this because I don’t like the paper being everywhere when it’s a graduation or a basketball game. We don’t have the staff to constantly keep those bathrooms looking nice.”

Easter said he had heard concerns that the air dryers would spread bacteria around the restrooms, but he pointed out that the restrooms have exhaust systems that channel in fresh air regularly.

“We don’t have lingering bacteria sitting in that bathroom,” Easter said. “It’s constantly getting sucked out.”

Board member Derek Johnson, who sits on the district’s buildings and grounds committee, said the group felt trying the dryers at the high school would give the district a chance to see how well they work before plans are made to install dryers at the other three schools.