CASE STUDY – School Planning & Management April, 2013
Wheaton Academy is a college preparatory, inter-denominational Christian high school founded in 1853. The Academy enrolls approximately 650 students in grades 9-12. Characterized by high academic standards and a mature student culture, the school sits on a beautiful 50-acre college-style campus with five facilities, including the Fine Arts Center and Heritage Field House. Recently during show intermissions at the Fine Arts Center, the head of the school saw students and parents waiting in line in a restroom to use old, slow hand dryers. Some frustrated restroom users would give up and leave with dripping, wet hands. The Academy decided it was time to upgrade its restroom hand dryers in three of its five facilities. One of the challenges in upgrading the hand dryers in the Fine Arts Center was to balance the need for faster, more powerful hand dryers with the necessity to keep noise to a minimum so as not to disturb the Center’s events in the nearby auditorium. Another challenge the Academy faced was the hand dryers in the Field House had to be ADA compliant.
Richard Mills, of Wheaton Academy’s maintenance department, began to research the different hand dryer manufacturers, even visiting different public locations in the community to test different models. It didn’t take long to settle on World Dryer. The Academy at that time had hand dryers from various manufacturers, including several 30-year-old World Dryer workhorses. Mills was so impressed with their reliability and the trusted World Dryer brand that he decided to go with World Dryer for the upgrade, noting it was the only manufacturer with a portolio of choices that fit the school’s needs. Another factor in choosing World Dryer was the fact the sales representative actually brought different models of hand dryers to the Academy so Mills and other school officials could test them out in the school facilities to ensure the best fit.
For the Fine Arts Center, the Academy selected World Dryer’s SMARTdri™ Plus because it is an energy efficient and hygienic high-speed hand dryer. SMARTdri Plus’ intelligent and flexible controls allow customizing of high-speed air flow, sound quality and heating options. Maintenance could adjust the fast, powerful hand dryers with sound at a minimum level so as not to disturb performances.
In the Field House, ADA concerns led to the selection of the rapid-dry SLIMdri™ hand dryers, which are 40 percent faster and 70 percent more energy efficient than other surface-mounted ADA hand dryers. For the third facility, the Academic Building, Wheaton Academy installed World Dryer’s AirMax™ hand dryers that feature high-speed dry times of under 15 seconds and use only 50 percent of the energy traditional hand dryers require. The school ordered all the dryers to be automatic, hands-free and stainless steel for better sanitary conditions. Mills said the energy efficiency of the dryers—SMARTdri Plus hand dryers use only 12 percent of the energy of traditional dryers—was also important as it helped reduce the electrical load on the Academy’s branch circuit. That was an important consideration given how many devices students and teachers plug into classroom outlets these days, Mills noted.
Impact on Learning
Mills said the Academy never considered paper towel dispensers for restrooms. “It just becomes a huge mess. You have paper towels all over the floor and everywhere. Too often, they get thrown around, or they get flushed and the plumbing suffers.” Mills reports the Academy is very pleased with the new hand dryers and particularly how each different World Dryer model from its full line of hand dryers has served a different purpose and fulfilled the different needs of each facility. He said teachers have even expressed surprise with how well they work, and World Dryer’s customer service has been top notch. “World Dryer understood that we had different needs for hand drying in each of our buildings, such as speed, sound and being ADA compliant,” Mills said. “All the hand dryers are high quality and have their purpose. They took the time to understand our concerns and offer us the right solutions. World Dryer offers extra services that other companies don’t. We couldn’t be happier.”
Project Name: Wheaton Academy
Location: West Chicago
Grade: High School
Company Name: World Dryer