Hoping to give students a ‘hands on experience’

Greenhouse plans closer to finalization


Photo courtesy of Stephen Blank

Faith students observe the University of Arizona’s greenhouse technology. Currently, these students are in the process of creating plans for Faith’s greenhouse.

Jordan Pulse, Editor

After months of discussion and debate, the designs of Faith Lutheran’s future greenhouse have started to become a reality. Once built, students and teachers will use this greenhouse to learn and experiment with hydroponics, gardening, and life cycles.

Due to the complexity and length of the greenhouse’s construction, precautionary plans had to take place. In order to have a basic schedule for designing, planning, and constructing the greenhouse, Mr. Scott Fogo, overseer of all greenhouse committees, created the five greenhouse committees; Growing and Programing, Internal Environmental Conditions, Design and Materials, Energy, and Architecture.

Each committee has a certain number of teachers and staff, each responsible for one task in this operation. Unlike most schools and businesses, Faith Lutheran’s greenhouse committee works in an order, meaning everyone focuses on one committee at a time until the greenhouse gets completed. Currently, Faith Lutheran is working with the Architecture Committee.

In this committee, high school students and some teachers involved with the committee have recently traveled to different universities and various places to see their greenhouses, in order to get an idea of what Faith Lutheran’s greenhouse will look like. High school students in the STEM program have also started designing the blueprints for the upcoming greenhouse. In fact, instead of doing an internship at other places, STEM students have the opportunity of doing a research project on the different aspects of the future greenhouse.

Once the plans for the greenhouse get finalized by a professional architect, then Faith Lutheran can begin funding.

“The money is going to come from the donors, which we haven’t started looking for yet, because we still have to finish figuring out what the greenhouse is going to look like. Dr. Buuck would also help fund by providing loans and such,” said Mr. Stephen Blank, who oversees all the greenhouse committees along with Fogo.

One of the many challenges of building this greenhouse is the amount of detail and time required. Without the details and planning, the greenhouse won’t become the result everyone hoped for.

“What we don’t want to do is just say, ‘let’s have a greenhouse, we’ll figure out what to do with it later’ and then have the architect figure out everything,” said Blank. “Then, we would have the result and think, ‘Oh that’s not really what we should have done.’ (This is) why we are doing all of the details and figuring out first, so we don’t regret it later.”

However, the purpose of Faith Lutheran’s greenhouse, won’t only be for growing plants.

“This greenhouse isn’t going to be built just so we can grow plants and crops. It’s being built so we can also conduct research and learn,” said Fogo.

When built, teachers and students will also see hydroponics, the process of growing plants with just water and fertilizer. Eventually, the greenhouse will add fish, which create their own fertilizer in the process of aquaponics.

Many students and teachers will be able to utilize the greenhouse. One of the major classes that will use this greenhouse is Mark 10:14, who have wanted this greenhouse for many years. Living Skills, STEM, and some sixth grade classes will also have access to the greenhouse in the upcoming years.

For years, the idea of a greenhouse has been speculated and imagined. Yet, some believe Mark 10:14  has kept the dream going for Faith Lutheran.

“Mark 10:14 has been keeping the greenhouse going the most because they want something like this for their programs. The greenhouse can provide the Mark 10:14 kids a ‘hands on experience,’ where they can benefit from watching life cycles and routines,” said Blank.

Mark 10:14 plans to grow and sell flowers, which can teach the kids some important skills for when they become adults.

“The (goal) for us is if the Mark 10:14 kids could learn some job skills. The most important thing our group does is try to get these kids prepared and successful in the real world,” said Lee Segala, teacher of the Mark 10:14.

All the details and hard work spent will make this greenhouse as beneficial as possible.

“Mr. Fogo wants us to dream big and cut things back if necessary, rather than to dream small and build something that no one wants,” said Blank.

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