Construction is complete on the greenhouse at Macomb High School, while construction is just getting started on the renovation project at Lincoln School.
Students, teachers, community members, and politicians applauded as the ceremonial ribbon was cut to mark the opening of the structure on the southeast side of the high school campus.
“The FFA motto is, ‘Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve,’” said Nick Torrance, President of Macomb High School’s FFA chapter.
“What has been accomplished with this greenhouse project in the last several months is an example of this motto in action.”
The price tag for the greenhouse is around $100,000 but it did not cost the school district a single cent.
“Every part of this so far has been due to fundraising and community volunteerism and grant writing,” said Wyatt McGrew, MHS agriculture education instructor and the adviser for its FFA chapter.
McGrew believes the greenhouse will expose more students to agriculture-related studies.
“The greenhouse here will allow us the opportunity at Macomb High to teach the floriculture, the horticulture, the landscaping, and really reach a wider variety of students and tell them that they can still have a place in agriculture even if it’s not farming.”
The ag program at MHS is in its third year. It was reinstated after residents formed the not-for-profit Macomb Agri-Science Association to raise the money to pay for the program.
The Board of Education approved the low bid of $2.8 million from Laverdiere Construction of Macomb.
School Superintendent Patrick Twomey said that’s about $400,000 more than originally expected. He said the increased cost is due to the district’s desire to have the new multi-purpose room built to withstand tornadic winds.
“So there will be a safe space for our kids to go in this building in the event we would have that type of wind weather storm,” Twomey said.
In addition to the multi-purpose room, Lincoln will get a new kitchen and several current rooms will be reconfigured.
Twomey hoped the project will be completed in early 2019.
The superintendent said the district received four bids. He said all were in the same ballpark so he’s confident the district will pay a fair price for the work.
The school board agreed to have a geothermal heating and cooling system installed in the addition. Twomey said geothermal is already used in the rest of the building.
The board earlier agreed to transfer $2 million in reserves from the district’s transportation fund and the operations & maintenance fund to pay for the Lincoln project. Twomey said the board must eventually decide whether to use more reserve cash to cover the remaining $800,000 or spend money from the district’s share of McDonough County’s one-cent sales tax for school construction projects.