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3rd graders tour city facilities

By Staff | Apr 5, 2019

Sue Sitter/PCT Local third graders tour city facilities Wednesday, including the water treatment plant.

City of Rugby employees gave local third graders an educational opportunity Wednesday when they led the students on a tour of the city’s shop and water treatment facility.

Rugby City Auditor Jennifer Stewart told the Tribune the tour was part of activities planned for City Government Week, designated for the week of April 1-5 by the North Dakota League of Cities.

“We like to reach out to the elementary schools, especially, to enlighten them on what our city does, and how it plays an important part in their everyday life,” Stewart noted.

“We decided last year we’d do this for third grade. We do a coloring contest for the first graders. We try to break it up a little bit.”

Stewart added city employees also pass rulers out to all elementary students at Ely and Little Flower schools.

“We will serve lunch at Ely (Thursday), and I think hot dogs are on the menu. So, the Chief of Police, and the Deputy Auditor and myself will be serving lunch to the elementary kids.”

Water plant supervisor Greg Boucher led two groups of students through the treatment plant. The first group consisted of Ely third graders from Alyson Schepp’s class, and third graders from Little Flower, accompanied by their teacher, Katie Liebert. Students from Jennifer Gault’s class at Ely toured the facility a half hour later.

“Here’s where the water goes through the filters. There’s sand in here,” Boucher said, his voice carrying over the din of pumps in the plant.

“The water goes through the sand, and it cleans it all up,” he continued.

Next, pointing to a storage area outside, Boucher said, “There’s a million gallons of water out there.”

The children responded with plenty of “oooohs” and “wows.”

After listening to a student speculate about where a toothpaste cap winds up after it goes down a bathroom sink, Schepp told the Tribune the lesson fit in with this week’s studies in her classroom.

“We have studied about the different parts of city government, so this fits,” Schepp said.

“We’re working on science,” Liebert indicated. “This goes with what we’re learning about water.”

After the tour of the treatment facility, the students met public works employees in the city shop and enjoyed cookies and juice.

The students asked public works questions, mostly about the water system.

“So, there’s pipes that go through here under the streets?” Asked one. “And they separate the dirty water from the clean water?”

Troy Munyer, Jeff Berdahl and Andy Hallof nodded.

“Thank goodness, huh?” Schepp agreed. “We don’t turn the faucet on and get dirty water!”

Gault said of the tour, “It ties in perfectly with our third grade curriculum.”

“I think it’s fantastic,” Gault added. “The kids have a lot of questions about where their water comes from, and how it gets cleaned, and why it sometimes smells funny or tastes different, and so I think it’s really effective to teach at the third grade level the whole water process the water cycle.”

“So now, they kind of understand the whole process in our city. And the city offices we talk about city government, the city officers help with those departments as well.”

After the students left, Boucher said, “The kids enjoy it. It’s something they didn’t know. They didn’t realize what’s up here.”

“People (in general) don’t know what’s up here. People can come up here (for tours), too,” Boucher added.

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