Agriculture
2:50 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

WIU's School of Ag Gets Greenhouse

Construction will begin later this month on a greenhouse for Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture.

Greenhouse on Western's campus
Greenhouse on Western's campus
Credit TSPR's Emily Boyer

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. They're building it 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 says the space will allow teachers and students to grow crops all year long.  He says Western is one of very few schools that don't have greenhouses for 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 says they eventually plan to build six bays for the greenhouse and a connecting classroom space to share with the Horticulture and Urban Forestry programs.

Plans for the School of Agriculture's greenhouse near the University's Harry Mussatto golf course.
Plans for the School of Agriculture's greenhouse near the University's Harry Mussatto golf course.
Credit Western Illinois University

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 says the School of Agriculture's greenhouse will instead be used for production.