We have a new addition to the Landscape Management Department. It is a 40’x25’ greenhouse that was purchased last year that is near completion. We purchased the greenhouse for a few reasons; one is that every year we spend thousands of dollars on annuals that we have grown by a local grower to put throughout the campus beds and planters. My goal is to drastically reduce the amount of money we spend purchasing when we can grow our own annuals from seed. We also have started an internship program with the Stockbridge School of Agriculture last year where students come to work for us and learn about their major. This year we have four Horticulture freshmen joining our team, the greenhouse will allow the students to “learn by doing” a daily part of their training will be growing, fertilizing, watering and caring for the plants. After the annuals have reached majority and the weather is right the students will create and design beds throughout the campus where we normally do not have them. Their job will also be to care for these flower beds through -out the summer months. We will also use the greenhouse for a staging area for commencement. The Landscape department does the purchasing and the set up for the graduate commencement at the Mullins Center and with graduation being so early (May 11th) it is difficult to find plant material that is in bloom, with the greenhouse we can adjust the growing environment and try to push the plant material along for a better bloom.
The greenhouse installation was done completely in house my foreman Ray LaClaire headed up the installation with help from other staff members Jim Recore, Chris Drake, John Stosz, The Stockbridge fraternity ATG also donated some of their time to help along with the installation. Construction Services, Electrical and Water Utilities installed all the lines for the project and will do all final hook ups for gas, power and water. It is nice to see everyone come together for a great cause. It truly is a win win for everyone, The University will be saving money, the students are getting hands on experience for their future, and the campus will have annual color through-out the season.
People have asked me how far you would like to see this go. I would like to see the university growing all there season color for the campus in the future I would like to see the internship program grow to a whole new level where we can prepare our students for their careers, and possibly come back to work here at the University.