SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota State University is looking to build a new $3.8 million greenhouse complex that will replace old, run-down space with a research-quality facility with stricter environmental controls.
The 11,000 square feet of new greenhouses will replace ones that are "held together with masking tape or duct tape and wire," are difficult to keep heated and have lighting issues, said David Graper, an SDSU professor of horticulture.
"They've been in bad shape for many years," Graper said. "In fact, there are areas in there we don't even use because it's just in such bad shape."
Plans call for funding the greenhouse complex and headhouse with $1 million from Higher Education Facilities Fund bond proceeds and nearly $2.8 million in private gifts, Plant Science service fees, and Foundation Seed Stock funds.
Graper said the department is working to raise additional funds for the greenhouse space.
The South Dakota Board of Regents, which approved a preliminary facility statement in March, approved SDSU's design plan Tuesday.
The 5,650-square-foot headhouse eventually will be used as support space for the greenhouses, but the building first will go to the visual arts program to serve as interim space for sculpture, ceramics, and three-dimensional design classes.
That will allow construction of a new home for the visual arts department on the site of the current west greenhouse-headhouse and seed house.
When the plant science department takes back the headhouse space within the next few years, it will house a classroom and meeting room, an environmental control room, drying oven and growth chamber space, vernalization chambers and potting benches and areas to store soil.
Graper said demand for greenhouse space has increased on the campus since SDSU's horticulture and landscape architecture faculty merged recently with the plant science department. The influx of new faculty has more researchers looking to fulfill grant commitments, but they need better controls.
The new greenhouses will provide computer-controlled temperature and lighting levels, which is important for accuracy with experiments.
"You need very strict environmental control," Graper said. "You need to be able to monitor that environment."