Future renovations made to greenhouse on campus said to benefit various departments
October 10, 2018
Nicholls State University approved renovations for the greenhouse on campus that has been out of use since 2014.
The newly improved structure will feature many new aspects and will be available for a variety of departments to use.
Development officer, Hillary Charpentier, said the original greenhouse was built in 1959 and was used to grow plants for the university’s campus.
“I’m not quite sure how it got into the condition it is now, but when the agriculture program left Nicholls, they were no longer using it, and it fizzled. Now it’s in the state it is now and has been for the last four years,” Charpentier said.
Charpentier said the plan is to keep it as similar to the original design as possible while adding a few new, structural elements.
The renovation provides a new classroom and kitchen space, hydroponic tower gardens, plexiglass, raised ceilings and gardens, the demolition of the upstairs floor and the addition of a multipurpose room. The recent investiture gala hosted by Nicholls President Jay Clune provides 50 percent of the proceeds from the event, as well as sponsorships from numerous donors.
Charpentier said she is looking forward to the greenhouse being restored in the future, as well as the positive effects it will have on the culinary department.
“I think the culinary department will get the most use out of the greenhouse because being able to grow our own vegetables will cut costs,” Charpentier said. “We’ll be able to grow things out of season and harvest them only when we need them, rather than buying stuff in bulk and wasting it.”
Mary Breaud, faculty advisor for the Bridge to Independence program, said the greenhouse will impact the education department and the Bridge program under the college of education in a very positive way.
“Our students will be able to extend work that they do on campus as a part of the certificate program, and it will extend what they are already doing with the tower gardens in culinary,” Breaud said.
Breaud said she is anticipating the restoration being done to the greenhouse and the valuable sources it will provide to students in the college of education.
Quenton Fontenot, head of biological services, manages the Nicholls farm, which uses greenhouses and shade houses to grow Louisiana native plants for restoration work.
“This greenhouse gives us a facility that students and faculty can use to do research on different types of plants,” Fontenot said. “We can look at ways to improve the way we let seeds germinate, improvements on plant health and we can train students on how to grow plants for job training.”
Fontenot said he expects the plant taxonomy and ecology classes to have possible future involvement with the greenhouse, post construction, for a hands-on learning experience outside the classroom.
Although there is no official date marking the start of construction, Charpentier said she hopes that restoration will start in the spring after all plans are finalized.