The greenhouses, which were previously attached to Esbenshade Hall, have been dismantled. The biology department had been the benefactors of the greenhouses.
Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. David Bowne was one of the professors who had utilized the greenhouses, which had been used to store equipment and for student research projects. “Greenhouses take a lot of care,” Bowne said. While there was nothing specifically wrong with the greenhouses structurally, they were being underutilized; meanwhile, the physics and engineering students needed more room to work effectively. There were no courses in botany being taught. “It was about the misallocation of resources.”
He explained that the space where the structures are located is needed for a fabrication lab for the department of physics and engineering. This lab will house a workshop where students will have the opportunity to construct what they need for labs, research projects and more. With this added space, students will be able to construct both a larger quantity of projects and projects on a greater scale.
The new fabrication lab will have garage doors large enough that a truck will be able to fit into the space.
Bowne believes that this new structure will make the physics and engineering department more attractive. The program is certified, meaning it is reviewed and certified by an outside agency. Not all undergraduate programs have this certification.
The decision to replace the greenhouses with the new fabrication lab was made by a number of parties. The department of physics and engineering expressed the need for new resources and the decision was sent to the dean and provost. It was discussed and debated by the Board of Trustees.
“Whenever there is construction on any campus, there are layers of bureaucracy you have to go through,” Bowne said. The department of biology was consulted because they were the primary benefactors of the greenhouses.
According to Bowne, there are currently no plans to reconstruct the greenhouses elsewhere.