The rooftop greenhouse is one of the most striking features of the new science building at Utah Valley University, a building that has received a Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The greenhouse will enhance the current programs in the College of Science and Health. The facility will accommodate teaching by providing a location for undergraduate students to conduct research. Professors as well as greenhouse staff will mentor these students.
The greenhouse will be home to specimens that will be used by the biology and botany departments. There will be state of the art environmental controls in the greenhouse as well as growth and germination chambers.
“It’s a very nice greenhouse, we’re fortunate to have it.” said Dean Sam Rushforth of the College of Science and Health. “The bid came in low enough on the [science] building that we felt like we could spring for the greenhouse.”
Students on campus may remember the old greenhouse near the facilities building by the East Entrance of campus. The small greenhouse became inadequate over the years.
“The old greenhouse was non-functional. Essentially we couldn’t use it for anything we needed.” Rushforth said. “This one is perfectly designed for our needs in teaching and undergraduate research.”
Students will be able to visit the greenhouse to see the facility once it opens. There may be opportunities for students to volunteer to help out with the care of the specimens.
Students and Faculty will also able to donate specimens from their private botanical collections to increase the variety in the greenhouse. To donate specimens, students and faculty can contact Ally Searle, the greenhouse manager.
Another feature of the new science building is the LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This certification is in line with the ideals and mission of the College of Science and Health. It means the building is environmentally friendly and uses much less energy than most buildings in Utah of a similar size.
“[The new science building] is gold certified, the only higher level is platinum and we almost came in at the platinum level. It’s a very energy efficient building.” Rushforth said.
For over a decade, students and faculty lobbied state officials to get funding for the science building. Many of these students will never take classes in the building.
Rushforth would like to thank these students. “They’ve worked very hard because they know of our need. We’re pretty proud of the heritage of students who have worked on this building.”
BY John Carlsen