Elma High School Installs Greenhouse for Aquaculture Facility
This guest blog post comes to you from Dave Rutherford of Elma, Washington. Rutherford is a teacher at Elma High School, where the faculty and students are working with the Elma Agriculture Department to stock local rivers and lakes with fish. The aquaculture tanks the fish are grown in are located in a 30′ wide by 60’ long Pro Solar Star™ Greenhouse from Growers Supply.
The Elma Agriculture Department was faced with an aging aquaculture facility that was no longer efficient and was costing a sizeable sum in sewer costs. Instructors at our school looked at a series of possible solutions, but upon the discovery of an existing drainage facility in another area, it was determined that a new building would be needed. Since the structure was going to be located at Elma High School, the needs of the students were taken into account and the aquaculture-only laboratory was changed to a more sustainable, multi-use laboratory. Space was limited, but it was determined that a 30′ by 60′ greenhouse would fit in the best location to utilize the existing drain system.
We decided on a greenhouse and bids were accepted from a variety of local companies along with Growers Supply. No other company could offer the complete greenhouse with all the heating and cooling systems close to the Growers Supply bid. We took this bid and approached several companies for grants to help pay for the structure. The Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation and a Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant paid for the greenhouse. The local building inspector was also very impressed and happy with the plans, which made the permit process and inspections go very smoothly.
It should be noted that this greenhouse was built by a group of twenty students between 15 and 18 years old with my guidance. Since the students were the ones to build the greenhouse, they now show a tremendous amount of pride in what they have accomplished. The Natural Resources Greenhouse houses four 800 gallon tanks, four misting tables and is currently raising 1,000 rainbow trout for stocking our local lake and 2,000 Coho Salmon to be released in the nearby Chehalis River. Overall, the entire project is deemed a success and we have been contacted by other schools looking to build new greenhouses. We gladly send them to Karen M., our National Account Manager at Growers Supply.
Bio: Dave Rutherford is a wood shop teacher at Elma High School in Washington. He also teaches classes on construction, dairy judging, environmental biology, forestry and more. Rutherford was a major part of this greenhouse project, from the design phase to completion. He now teaches natural resources classes that go over aquaculture, forestry, wildlife and more.