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The white fire hydrants that you may have seen near Colton's schools are about to get a new look.

PMG PHOTO: CINDY FAMA - Fire hydrant painted with white primer, waiting for student artwork.Have you seen the white fire hydrants around the schools and asked yourself, 'why do we have ghost-like hydrants?'

According to Colton Water District employee, Jan Kaforski, the local water department needs to repaint fire hydrants every few years to protect them from rust and the elements. This is the year for the painting to be done. Kaforski said members of the water board of directors thought it might be fun to involve the community in the painting as they had seen some "design hydrants" in other communities.

Water board member, Allan Gross, met with Colton High School's counselor Lauren Holst and art teacher Craig Cervantes. He presented the idea of high school students painting the hydrants as a school project.

The art project was approved by the school and Cervantes said seven art students, who are enrolled in either art III or IV submitted designs to the water district and school and were given the go ahead. There are a total of seven hydrants to be painted, two at the elementary school, two at the middle school and three across from the high school.

Given approval for their themes at the elementary school are Nate Browning, who will be depicting the four seasons on a hydrant, and Ed Zinsli, who is working on an ocean theme. One hydrant at the middle school will be decorated with daisies and flowers by Caitlin Ingersoll and there will be a gumball machine painted by Karlee Wimsatt. The high school will have a Minion painted by Seth Ethington at the corner of Highway 211 and Wall Street, Anime characters by Terra-Nova Skogan will decorate the hydrant by the Helping Hands Food Pantry and there will be a fish-themed hydrant across from the athletic fields driveway painted by Ben O'Brien.

Cervantes said right now the hydrants are painted white with primer and the artists will be working on their projects during art class as weather permits.

The water district provided funding for the acrylic paint and will be adding a fixative to keep the paintings from fading when the art projects are completed.

"Safety was our top concern," Kaforski said. "The fire department gave us orange safety poles to surround the hydrants and safety vests for the student artists to wear. The school has assigned a district staff member with the students.

"I am having a good time making mine look like a minion," Ethington said. "The hydrant just looks like one to me."

Ben O'Brien said he chose the fish theme because of water. He said it just seemed to go together and made sense.

Keep an eye out as works of art replace the Colton ghosts.

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