Construction will begin this month on a greenhouse for Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture.
Agriculture Professor Dr. Winn Phippen has been managing the seed breeding program out of growth chambers in a basement on campus.
But soon he’ll be moving his research crops to a greenhouse near the university’s Harry Mussatto Golf Course. It's being built there due to a lack of space on campus.
Western's Board of Trustees has approved $500,000 for construction of a two bay greenhouse. It should be open by October 2014.
Phippen said the space will allow teachers and students to grow crops all year long. He said Western is one of very few schools that don't have greenhouses for their Ag department's use.
“It has always been on our School of Ag wish list," Phippen said.
"It is absolutely essential for a school of agriculture to have a greenhouse facility. That was one of the main facilities that was missing from our unit.”
Phippen said the school eventually plans to build six bays for the greenhouse plus a connecting classroom space to share with the Horticulture and Urban Forestry programs.
There’s already a small greenhouse on Western’s campus. It’s used by the Biology department as a conservatory for collections of plants. Phippen said the School of Agriculture's greenhouse will be used for production.