The Strathmore High School (SHS) is moving forward with their community greenhouse project, having now put down a deposit for the facility’s construction.
The project has been in discussion for over a year and since June has raised the last 20 per cent of the $50,000 required to build. The deposit expended consisted of half of the budget for the greenhouse.
The idea is to construct a geodesic dome on school grounds, likely to take the place of the beach volleyball court, that will function completely off grid and will operate year-round.
“We put a deposit down on the greenhouse and the plan is for that to arrive in the spring. In the meantime, we’re starting to plan some of the other aspects that we’ll need in order to meet our goal,” said Cole Hintz, who is overseeing the project.
“Being able to run this greenhouse year-round, off grid, means that we need to be a little bit more intentional, designing from the ground up.”
The project has received support from Capital Power, TC Energy, Golden Hills School Division, Connect First Credit Union, Inside Education and the Calgary Foundation, as well as gaining the endorsement of the Town of Strathmore this past June.
“There’s also some other groups that are still reviewing our proposal, but the support that we’ve gotten for this project has been extraordinary and we’re definitely really excited to see it come to fruition,” said Hintz.
“The space is going to be a pretty good demonstration of sustainable tech and what year-round growing can look like, not just at a school, but potentially in somebody’s backyard.”
Once constructed, the 850 square foot dome will function both as a space for students to learn and to support community groups that wish to take advantage of the space.
“Because it’s a community space, there’s going to be lots of opportunities for community groups to come together within this space and learn together throughout the whole process,” Hintz added.
For the time being, the students are continuing to learn about solar energy and hydroponics, both being systems that will be integrated into the greenhouse, among other amenities.
Hintz said until the groundwork is able to begin, it feels like there is a lull in the project.
“We’re definitely excited. Right now, it’s a lot of waiting around. Currently, the spring seems like a long time away. I think once it gets a little bit closer, it’ll hit home a little bit more.”
“Currently, we’re planning the ICS foundation and a climate battery that we’re going to install to help with the heating and cooling through the summer and winter months.”
The school is seeking to raise additional funds to add onto the greenhouse, to budget in systems and efficiencies that will be installed during construction, as opposed to trying to add them on at later dates.
For those who are interested in keeping up to date with the school’s progress and student learning activities, Hintz is documenting the process for the school’s Youtube Channel, Awkward Aquaponics.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times