By partnering together, Scott County businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the school district were able to bring this day to reality — the opening of the Scottsburg High School greenhouse.
“It’s been a long road — three years in the making,” said Caroline VanGosen, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at SHS. “I want to thank all the community members, our community support, our administration support, our school board members for being behind us, our tech guys for trying to figure out this new system.”
“A big shout out to our sponsors. Without them, this would not be possible at all,” said Scott County School District 2 Superintendent Dr. Marc Slaton. “This is so great for our students. It brings a missing piece to SHS FFA and Ag program.”
The community and business support raised at least $60,000 in donations, including $30,000 from Premier Ag — formerly known as the Jackson-Jennings Co-op, $10,000 from the Scott County Community Foundation, $5,000 from Farm Credit, and $10,000 from Indiana Farm Bureau Scott County office. Other donations came from community members who donated change and cash at the FFA food booth during the Scott County 4-H Fair.
“It’s something for the kids, and this project steers it in the right direction with agriculture,” said Ron Sibert, retired CEO of Jackson-Jennings Co-op. The co-op recently merged with Premier Ag. Premier Ag serves the Scott County farming community.
“It’s nice to give back to the community,” said Donald Schnitker, member of the Board of Directors at Premier Ag. “It was a good fit.”
Schnitker said farmers are using greenhouses on a larger scale than the high school’s new facility. Many farmers are using greenhouses to grow lettuce and other vegetables on the farm.
“It’s a phenomenal opportunity for not only for the students taking agriculture courses but as well as the FFA officers and members,” said Emma Hall, president of the SHS FFA. “I’m sure it will future our opportunities inside and outside the classroom.”
Not only did businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals make donations to see the project through, the Scott County Board of Education approved the remainder of the funding needed that donations did not cover to open the greenhouse.
SHS’ greenhouse features hanging basket rails, irrigation, heating and cooling controls, a double laundry sink, a ventilation system, and several benches to support plant growth. VanGosen said it would take some time to get to know the new computerized system, the plant zones, and figuring out what works best for their program.
“Our officers are looking forward to being in here. Our members are looking forward to being in here,” VanGosen said.