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New $76,000 greenhouse expands ag opportunities in Marion

Staff writer

A $76,000 project approved by the board of education in October to build a greenhouse at Marion High School is coming to fruition.

According to ag instructor Mark Meyer, workers from Tom Henry, Inc., of Tyler, Texas, began construction April 20. The greenhouse, attached to the south side of the ag shop, was expected to be completed by Tuesday.

“I’m super excited,” Meyer said. “My advisory committee has been recommending it for a long time. It will expand educational opportunities for our students. Agriculture education is based on a ‘hands on’ approach so that instruction can occur as students actually experience growing plants and learning about the variables that affect plant growth.

“Students can gain practical experience with horticulture plant identification and the potential insect and pest problems that can occur. It will also provide them with experiences involved with operating a production greenhouse and prepare them for potential careers in the horticulture business.”

The greenhouse may not get much use until second semester next year, when horticulture students will be starting spring crops and bedding plants.

“Our big focus will be growing plants for the community garden,” Meyer said. “We don’t want to compete for customers with a local business. In fact, we hope to collaborate with the local greenhouse and complement their selection by offering some bedding plants that they typically might run out of or do not raise because of limitations on size and demand.”

Meyer took in-service and online classes this past summer to learn what and how to teach horticulture classes.

He is hoping to inspire some students to get involved in gardening and to assist with the community garden.

“I think it’s important for young people to learn how to garden,” Meyer said.

A big portion of the cost of the 18-by-36-foot greenhouse was funded by grants plus a few individual donations.

Frontier Farm Credit provided $10,000; American Family Dreams Foundation, $7,500; Tractor Supply, $5,000; Bayer, $15,000; and Jayson Hanschu American Family Agency, $475.

The school district will pay any remaining costs, including connecting to utilities.

Last modified April 29, 2021

 

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