Rockwood School District’s Board of Education recently voted to allow Principal John Shaughnessy and other staff to formally investigate the possibility of a building an attached greenhouse on the west side of the Lafayette High building in Wildwood, facing Hwy. 109.
Shaughnessy told the board that the possible greenhouse project would be a collaborative partnership opportunity between local nurseries, community businesses and the district.
The greenhouse would provide an onsite pre-vocational work opportunity for self-contained Special School District students, Shaughnessy said.
“We found that these kids are regularly sent to job sites such as the local YMCA to obtain skills,” he said. “But we never get to see the results of their work at Lafayette. So we wanted them to be able to stay at Lafayette and get the same types of skills.”
The effort would allow students with special needs to work with local nurseries and learn about horticulture, Shaughnessy said. “And fresh produce and plants would show the results of their work.”
Shaughnessy said the greenhouse also could be used as an extra science lab and for culinary/family and consumer science students whose classroom the greenhouse would be near.
“Produce could even be part of our cafeteria’s salad bar,” he said.
The greenhouse could help in various academic areas, such as the study of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and aquaponics (raising aquatic animals such as fish along with growing plants in water), Shaughnessy said.
The funding source for the project is a combination of grant money and Lafayette student activity account money. However, grant applications are on hold until permission is given by the board for this project.
The timeline of this project would be established in collaboration with the Rockwood facilities.
Shaughnessy said the goal is to have the greenhouse functioning sometime in the 2014/2015 school year.
“At this time we are only asking the board for approval to allow us to formally investigate the possibility of a greenhouse being built on the Lafayette campus,” Shaughnessy told the board. “At a future date we will present our results to the board and obtain final approval at that time.”