Wheelerville to add second greenhouse

CAROGA-Students at the Wheelerville Union-Free School will receive an expansion to their greenhouse in April, according to school officials.

According to Superintendent Richard Rhuberti, Project Greenhouse, a program that started at the beginning of the school year, will see an expansion this April, with an additional greenhouse being added to the program.

According to Rhuberti, the goal of Project Greenhouse was to build a fully-functional greenhouse, which could be used to enhance student and community learning. An added benefit from the program is the promotion of a healthy lifestyle through better nutrition.

The original greenhouse was a 9-foot by 9-foot construction, with a 50-gallon water barrel that would collect rainwater to water the plants. Small solar power panels were installed to operate the misting system.

Rhuberti said with the district saving money, they will be able to purchase and install another 9-foot by 9-foot greenhouse this April. Rhuberti said the project will cost $1,000.

Flowers, vegetables and more are grown inside the current greenhouse, with the expanded structure to carry more crops.

According to Food Service Manager Mr. Damon Loucks, originally, a 10-foot by 12-foot construction was planned and built in the bus garage for the district. However, Loucks said the construction failed to hold up to strong winds, leading them to build the smaller construction.

Loucks said the crops grown inside the greenhouse have been doing well.

“They do great, they did wonderful over the summer,” Loucks said.

Jacqulyn Insogna, head of the science department at Wheelerville, said the school has wanted to do the program for years, and is excited to see the success so far and the expansion.

Students who assist with taking care of the plants have been excited to participate, Insogna said.

“They all want to do everything,” Insogna said.

Loucks said he hopes the new greenhouse will be fully operational by the end of the summer.