MT. VERNON — A planned fundraising campaign will seek to raise at least $50,000 to help pay for an expanded greenhouse at the new Mt. Vernon Township High School.
The greenhouse would be used by students once the new campus becomes operational in 2015.
John Kabat, MVTHS agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, said the school’s current greenhouse is too small and only gets about eight hours of sunlight a day.
“It’s so small, we can’t get (more than) a couple people in there,” Kabat said. “It doesn’t produce well.”
The MVTHS FFA Alumni Chapter hopes to begin the fundraising campaign in December. So far, there has been one donation for $1,000. The overall goal is to raise $50,000 to $75,000 from the public.
This funding will go toward building the new greenhouse, a project expected to cost about $150,000 to $200,000. Whatever’s raised through the campaign will be matched by MVTHS and state grant funding.
There will be five different levels of donations: bronze, $100 to $249; silver, $250 to $499; gold, $500 to $999; platinum, $1,000 to $4,999; and diamond, $5,000 and up.
All who donate more than $100 will have their names engraved on a plaque on the outside of the new greenhouse, Kabat said.
The school’s current greenhouse is only 12 by 30 feet, but serves about 120 students in four classes, Kabat said.
The greenhouse is also shaded for part of the day because it’s connected to a larger building on campus.
According to Kabat, the new greenhouse will be a standalone structure, at least 36 by 68 feet in size.
He hopes to have six different ag classes use the new greenhouse, as well as some students in the science department. It can be used for growing food, flowers, and shrubs; transplanting plants; and for community gardens.
“It’ll be something nice for the community for many years to come,” Kabat said.
The greenhouse fundraising effort came up for discussion briefly at the Oct. 21 meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education.
Once bids are awarded in December for the new school project, MVTHS officials will have a better idea of what the district can contribute for the greenhouse, said Superintendent Michael Smith.
“We just want to wait until bids are awarded so we know what commitment the district can make,” Smith said. “We need to get a broader view of that so we can make a determination on how much we can commit for that specific piece.”