Out with the old and in with the new — a multi-year project to update the greenhouse at Wellington High School is nearing fruition.
The board of education voted at its Sept. 15 board meeting to approve the Wellington FFA Alumni Association’s plans to dismantle the existing structure to build a bigger, better one.
Vocational agriculture teacher Shannon Thome has been one of the leading forces pushing for a new greenhouse. She’s taught at the high school for nine years and knows first hand the shortcomings of the existing one.
It doesn’t have the proper ventilation, so it gets too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer to support certain types of plants. The greenhouse’s size and curved walls also make it difficult to have labs.
The new structure has straight walls and is twice the width of the current nursery. It should also be able to be used year-round.
Thome plans to use the greenhouse to help FFA students with their supervised agriculture projects.
“Kids that live on the farm can do those kind of projects at home, whether it’s planting crops or raising animals,” she said. “Kids who live in town have more trouble coming up with agricultural-based projects that they can do, so I want this to be one avenue that these students can use.”
The direction the building faces will also change. Instead of being aligned east and west, the new greenhouse will go north and south, parallel to the school.
“It’s supposed to be better growing the plants as far as wind direction and sunlight, which help with the ventilation and the sun,” Thome said.
FFA alumni purchased the new greenhouse last year for roughly $20,000. The cost of the project and construction at the new middle school contributed to the project being completed in stages.
“The planning is what should take the longest,” Thome said. “Once we get the foundation poured, the greenhouse itself should go up in a matter of days.”
The FFA alumni are still working on quotes for the concrete base, but they’re hoping the cost of construction doesn’t exceed $13,000. They raised $10,000 and the remaining $3,000 comes from a grant.
Other than the concrete, the alumni and local student chapter will do most of the work. Thome is hopeful the tearing down of the existing structure will begin within the next week.
The goal is to have the greenhouse up and running before winter sets in.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Wellington High School’s existing greenhouse has yet to be used this year as vocational agriculture teacher Shannon Thome and the Wellington FFA Alumni Association prepare to tear it down and build a new one.