Grant helps GHS build high-tech greenhouse
Gainesville High School agriculture students were excited as they gathered recently for a tour of the new greenhouse now under construction. With the framing complete, GHS agriculture teacher / FFA adviser Jon Wilson walked the students around the structure, pointing out where overhead doors will be placed and explaining the layout of the 30’ x 60’ building.
Wilson said the next step in construction is to install an automated interior shade cloth. “We can actually lower and raise it, depending on when and where we need the shade,” Wilson said. “The old shade cloth was on the outside, and we had to physically remove it and put it back on. We’re also going to have an irrigation and fertilization system set up to all of our tables – much less hassle than manual watering.”
Raising and lowering the shade cloth, watering and fertilizing can all be done remotely with a smart phone. “Mr. Wilson can be at home and control what’s happening at the greenhouse,” said Gainesville superintendent Dr. Jeff Hyatt. “The technology is amazing.”
Children who attend Gainesville’s summer school program will have a chance to visit the greenhouse and grow a flower or vegetable from seed for them to take home.
“We want to give all the students a chance to see the greenhouse process and experience it for themselves,” Wilson said. “Instead of just hearing about it or reading about, they can get their hands dirty and do it.”
The $170,000 greenhouse is funded by a “vocational enhancement” grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It’s a 75-25 grant, with the school district paying 25 percent of the cost, about $43,000.