Touchless faucets, drinking fountains coming to Ozarks Technical Community College

At Ozarks Technical Community College, it will soon be possible for individuals to wash their hands or use a drinking fountain without touching the equipment.

The long-sought change was approved Monday by the OTC Board of Trustees, which approved spending a total of $331,592 to buy and install the new equipment at all OTC campuses and centers.

Funding will come from the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) allocation to OTC prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is an opportunity to go out and replace all of our equipment," said Rob Rector, vice chancellor of administrative services at OTC. "We'll make it touchless."

The OTC board agreed to purchase touchless faucets and drinking fountains from Star Mechanical Supply of Springfield and to pay Paul's Plumbing Service to install the new equipment.

Touchless faucets, drinking fountains coming to Ozarks Technical Community College

"It's a hybrid commercial-grade faucet and as the water goes through it, it will spin on the inside and it actually recharges the batteries. It's hydro, to regenerate," Rector said. "The batteries have an expected life of about 10 years."

Rector said the availability of federal funds will make the change possible.

"We're very excited about this opportunity because normally we would not be able to do this," he said.

Rector said the drinking fountains will be touchless and have a "bottle filler" option.

"This has been a high request from all centers and campuses to make this conversion. We are very excited about this," he said.

Rector said the work will start as soon as the equipment arrives, which may be as soon as late February.

Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to criley@news-leader.com.