Construction begins on new WVU greenhouse
Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 23:09
The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will celebrate the start of construction on a new greenhouse facility tomorrow with a "Greenhouse Celebration."
"The Plant and Soil Sciences Greenhouse is an essential space for teaching, research and outreach for WVU and the Davis College," said David Welsh, public relations manager for the Davis College.
The greenhouse, which will be located on the Evansdale Campus, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012 and is estimated to cost $8.8 million.
The greenhouse is the first phase of the $159.5 million Evansdale Campus building project slated to take place through 2014.
"The new greenhouse is part of the Evansdale Master Plan. Upon completion, it will serve to anchor and define the southern corner of the Evansdale campus," said John Sommers, the construction manager for the project.
The greenhouse will support research from the Plant and Soil Sciences department and will be 28,250 square feet.
Most of the 19,000 square feet of greenhouse growing area will be dedicated to the Davis College for future research.
"Our undergraduate students use the space for course work and to gain experience. Our faculty and graduate students use the greenhouse to conduct research," Welsh said.
The greenhouse is also home to various community outreach activities, including seasonal plant sales and educational activities for organizations, Welsh said.
In addition to growing space, the new greenhouse will house multiple lab rooms, a classroom, offices and various support services.
The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service will pay 25 percent of the cost of the new greenhouse, and a portion of the growing area will be dedicated to USDA research.
The previous greenhouse area for the USDA Forest Service was located in Star City and hasn't undergone any significant renovations since it was built in the ‘60s, Sommers said.
The new facilities will allow WVU and the USDA Forest Service to apply new research methods and use updated technology.
"The existing facilities and systems are beyond their life span and they do not meet the current or future needs of WVU's research or academic programs," Sommers said.
To make space for the new greenhouse, the existing glass greenhouse was demolished at the end of August.
The new greenhouse was originally allotted a budget of $5 million in 2009 by the Board of Governors,but the University made the decision to switch architectural firms soon after.
The building plans have not changed, but the cost has increased to represent a more realistic budget, according to Facilities Management officials.
The "Greenhouse Celebration" will kick off Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the building site. President Clements will speak at the event.
"It will be an opportunity to celebrate the progress of the project so far, recognize our partners and supporters in the creation of the new greenhouse and allow people from the Davis College to share our enthusiasm for the space," Welsh said.