School Board greenlights new greenhouse

FFA organizations to contribute $20K for project

The Shawano FFA program will continue to grow after the Shawano School Board took action Monday on a new greenhouse for the organization.

The board unanimously approved spending $89,522 after accepting a bid from United Greenhouse Systems, a company based in Edgerton. United Greenhouse’s bid was the lowest of four bids received by the school district; the highest bid was $146,489.

An additional $20,000 is needed to pour the concrete slab and install utilities, according to Superintendent Gary Cumberland, but that cost will be absorbed by funds raised by the FFA itself and the Shawano FFA Alumni. Cumberland said the two groups are in the process of raising the needed funds.

“They’re working hard to have it ready by June 30,” Cumberland said. “But if they don’t have it this year, then for sure by the end of next year, they’ll have it all there.”

Board member Derek Johnson, who sits on the district’s finance committee, said there is a need for a new greenhouse. He noted the FFA and alumni groups have been pushing for the project for a few years.

“We have a need for a larger, expanded greenhouse,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of niceties, but they’re needed to grow things.”

The money to hire United Greenhouse is already in the current school year budget, according to board member Michael Sleeper.

“We’re giving the go-ahead so that it can be done in this year’s operational budget,” Sleeper said.

The FFA uses the greenhouse for agricultural education year-round, but the group also holds an annual plant sale in the spring and poinsettia sale in December, with all the plants grown in the greenhouse.