New greenhouse will stimulate student projects

(04-02-2015)

Dr. Benita Brink, chair of the biology/earth science department, Marcella Garcia, project director for the Title V Stem Grant, and members of Alcon Construction and Adams State’s Facilities Services discuss the construction

Dr. Benita Brink, Marcella Garcia, members of Alcon Construction and Adams State's Facilities Services discuss the construction for the stand-alone greenhouse, soon to be located northeast of the Pettey's and Conour Hall parking lot.

Preparation for the Adams State University greenhouse has begun. The new, stand-alone, structure will provide opportunities for improving student engagement and undergraduate research.

The project, part of the Title V STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Grant, should be complete by July 1, 2015.

The Title V STEM grant has several components, including student engagement, community outreach, and academic support. Through the grant, the following free programs are available to the public: STEM Saturdays, planetarium shows, observatory open houses, and outreach to local schools. The creation of the STEM Center, on the third floor of Porter Hall, provides access to Adams State students for tutoring, peer-led team learning, research, supplemental instruction, resources, or a quiet place to rest between classes.

According to Marcella Garcia, Title V STEM project director, the last two components are on track. "As an Hispanic Serving Institution we strive to provide every opportunity to engage all our students and increase graduation rates in STEM among Hispanic students." The new greenhouse will expand existing avenues for hands-on learning, research, and participation.

Dr. Benita Brink, chair of the biology/earth science department, said: "The new greenhouse will allow us to develop an extensive plant collection for use in biology courses as well as outreach opportunities to the K12 community. In addition, ASU students will benefit by having a useable space for conducting plant-based research projects."

The Title V STEM grant had money dedicated to renovating the existing greenhouse, located on the third floor of Porter Hall. Brink said the old greenhouse has been completely nonfunctional for about two years, and prior to that were significant problems with extremes in temperature.

"Temperatures in the greenhouse could reach one hundred degrees in the summer and plummet to negative thirty in colder months," Garcia said. Other concerns regarding the existing greenhouse by Adams State Facilities Services prompted Garcia to request permission from the Federal Program Office to construct an entirely new greenhouse.

With a stipulation that the grant money would not exceed what was budgeted for renovation, Garcia received permission. Adams State agreed to fund the remainder of the building. The new construction will be 100 square feet larger than the greenhouse located in Porter Hall. "It will definitely provide enhanced services beyond what now exists," Garcia added.

Alcon Construction won the bid for construction and the building itself will be made of pre-fabricated material.