Community college awarded grant for greenhouse

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With the help of a $150,000 grant from the Colorado Garden Show, Front Range Community College in Westminster took a big step toward building a state-of-the art greenhouse teaching facility on its campus.

The grant is the Andrew Pierce Memorial Grant.

“Andrew was a longtime Colorado Garden Show board member and active participant in the grants selection process. Andrew loved plants and appreciated a well-designed landscaped garden,” said Jim Fricke, CGS executive director. “He would be thrilled to know that the 2013 Andrew Pierce Memorial Grant was awarded to FRCC to build a greenhouse teaching facility.”

The grant was awarded to the school on April 29 as the largest awarded to one organization from the Colorado Garden Show.

“One of our missions is to extend our passion for and knowledge of horticulture into future generations and this greenhouse provides the students of Front Range Community College with hands-on learning,” Fricke said. “They will get practical experiences on their school’s campus and learn about soil preparation, plant and flower growth in Colorado’s dry climate, temperature control and much more.”

The grant is being given in two $75,000 installments.

The first portion was awarded this year and the second portion will be awarded next year.

To date, the CGS has awarded more than $5.5 million in grant money for horticulture projects and scholarships in Colorado.

Front Range president Andy Dorsey is also thrilled about the greenhouse.

He said the facility will make a tremendous difference in student learning in almost every horticulture class. With most horticulture students taking classes in the fall, winter and springs months due to summer horticulture jobs, Dorsey said having the ability to work with live plants in the greenhouse will be a real benefit to the curriculum.

“Horticulture is a growing industry and the goal of the greenhouse is to simulate what students will see when they leave college and go to work,” he said. “We want our students job-ready and to make a positive difference for their future employer.”

The total cost of the greenhouse is estimated at $600,000.

Dorsey said additional fundraising is needed to make the greenhouse a reality.

By this fall he hopes to have the design of the greenhouse in place.

Its location has not been determined, but Dorsey said because of sun exposure, more than likely it will be closer to south side of the main building on the Westminster campus.

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