Friends Water Fountains Reviewed

Icy? Filtered? Magic ‘pregame water’? A Quill reporter tackles the question: Which is the best, and why?
Our reviewers pose with one of the Friends campus top-scoring water fountains.
Our reviewers pose with one of the Friends campus’ top-scoring water fountains.
Courtesy of Mason Cost

Water fountains are essential to a school’s hallways. They can be found all over our campus. And they evoke strong opinions, some good and some bad.

As someone who drinks from the fountains, I wanted to find which water fountain was the best on campus. Quill writers have attempted a quest like this in the past, but they weren’t systematic about it. So in my search, I decided to rate each water fountain on seven categories:

  1. temperature (how cold)
  2. purity
  3. cleanliness
  4. setting (around the water fountain)
  5. location
  6. availability
  7. taste

I started in the Forbush building with the upstairs fountains, then moved downstairs to finish the water fountains in the building. I didn’t have high expectations for these fountains because of past incidents. Just this fall, they were taped up because of a parasitic emergency.  

Next, I moved to the Upper School building, which has three water fountains, one on each floor. I first went to the water fountain in Freshman Hall, then the fountain next to the Library, and finally the fountain in Junior Hall. These were all solid picks. 

The Science and Math building was very disappointing. Out of three fountains, only one met expectations. On the first floor, the fountain didn’t even work and on the second floor, it was bad. The only good fountain was the fan favorite:  the one right outside of Mr. Schlenger’s classroom. 

For the final water fountains in the Gym, I brought along German exchange student Nils von Boehmer ’25. We rated the fountains together, and started ranking all the water fountains in their correct order.  

“Some good water, but it could be a lot better,” was Nils’s overall takeaway.  Here’s what we found:


The three best water fountains that came out on top were: Junior Hall, the Gym fountains, and Mr. Schlenger’s beloved water fountain. Each of these has a great temperature, perfect pressure, and a nice, clean taste. 

As for the worst three, they were the Science and Math first and second floor fountains, and the Forbush basement. These three often tasted bad, didn’t work very well, and weren’t in a good spot.

Despite the stats, my and many friends’ personal favorite is Mr. Schlenger’s fountain. This water fountain isn’t the highest scorer, but it’s perfect in its own way: it has a great taste and location, and it’s full of memories.

To juniors Connor House and Ramsey Kissack, this water fountain is more than just a place to refill a water bottle or take a drink. It’s a place with its own traditions and memories. 

“It’s one of my favorite places on the Friends School campus because of like the great memories that it has,” says Ramsey.

Connor explains.

“Back in 10th grade math class, we had a tradition before class. It really started with four tests where we would drink some water from the fountain. We call it pregame water, and it will give us good luck for the test. It became a tradition,” says Connor. “There’s something holy about the Schlenger water.”

As I sampled fountains across campus, I wondered: what makes them taste different? Is it the filters? I went looking for school nurse Lynne Anonye, who I thought might have the answer.

Water fountains in Forbush Hall were wrapped with Caution tape after low levels of a parasite found in the water supply caused a boil-water advisory in Baltimore this fall. (Mason Cost)

But it turned out I needed to talk to Facilities Director Carl Grant. He explained that after this fall, when the parasite cryptosporidium was detected in the city water supply, Friends moved quickly to upgrade the filters on all the water fountains around campus.

“Each has its own individual filter. And just recently, I think like three weeks ago, we changed out one in the gym to a newer water filter,” Grant explained. “So we’ve changed out a lot.”

“The ones with the water bottle filler, those have the newer filters. And then there were some older units that we had that, although the filters were good, it wasn’t the one that was specified,” he elaborated.

Many of our fountains had different specific filters, some newer and some older. This probably caused the different tastes. Recently, though, that has changed because of the focus on clean water and the parasitic infection incident.

“So now they all just have the same filter,” says Grant.

So now, all the fountains have the same filters and should taste the same. But you’ll have to find that out yourself. 

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