After seven years of delay, the construction of a greenhouse on campus is underway. The structure will be designed for biology research, community gardens and housing a diverse collection of plants for instructional use.
The Academic Success Center (ASC) is also considering landscaping the space surrounding it to create a socializing area. “We’re hoping that the whole area can become an outdoor place where people can hang out. SI and tutoring could happen out there… it may bring an energy to that whole strip,” said Karen Cianci, dean of natural sciences.
The greenhouse will be completed within the next few weeks, while the surrounding area will be designed and landscaped throughout the spring and summer.
According to Gary Metcalf, director of facilities and services, the greenhouse is the ideal size for FPU’s science program. “It’s easy to use and it doesn’t have a lot of maintenance costs. Given all of our options, and the programs that they’re looking at for this, it’s the ideal fit,” Metcalf said.
The idea for a greenhouse started back in 2012, when biology and environmental science professor Dr. Michael Kunz and former biology professor Dr. Ruth Dahlquist first proposed it. Dahlquist and Metcalf researched different designs of university greenhouses. To acquire funds Cianci wrote FPU’s first grant proposal under Title V, which distributes money from the U.S. Department of Education to Hispanic-serving Institutions. Once the money, around $9,000, was acquired, Cianci purchased the materials for the greenhouse and had them shipped to facilities.
However, the 2012 grant did not include funds for permits and site landscaping, which cost an additional estimated $9,000. Fresno Pacific did not have money for these extra costs at the time, so the materials were kept in a garage for safekeeping. The money to legally secure the area and prepare for installation was recently acquired, and after city officials approved plans for the area construction could finally begin. The project took additional time because the original design had to be updated to comply with 2019 city codes and regulations for infrastructure. The project has required a lot of time and patience to coordinate with city officials and comply with regulations, so the people responsible for bringing it to FPU are happy that this project can finally be completed.