Original Published on Jun 30, 2022 at 19:09

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Staff, students and community members involved in Strathmore High School’s (SHS) community greenhouse project were excited to finally put up the structure on campus last week.

With the underground work and foundations laid ahead of time, construction of the dome began on June 20 and was completed before the end of the week. 

Cole Hintz, the instructor at SHS who has been overseeing the project since its inception, was glad to have the help of so many students and community members to get through construction so quickly.

“We started early (Monday), currently we’ve had a lot of help (from) students, ex-students, teachers, some members of Communities in Bloom stopped by. Little by little, we’re working,” said Hintz, who added that he had originally aimed for the dome to be completed earlier this year, but having now gone through the process, admitted his original timeline idea was ambitious. 

Going forward over the rest of the summer and into the next school year, Hintz said there are plenty of ideas to keep students occupied in there and to help the community to find year-round growing success.

“I think in researching, it fits exactly with what should be expected … we have lots of plans come September for the inside, we just got another couple of grants for the solar photovoltaic on the electricity side of it … it’ll be nice to have something that we can start adding to on the inside and go from there,” said Hintz, adding they also received a grant from Inside Education to help finish the establishment of the solar photovoltaic grid for the greenhouse.

According to Hintz, Fortis donated a transformer box which SHS students will be customizing during the 2022-23 school year into a suitable device for managing the greenhouse’s electricity.

“We’ve had a ton of support. I always knew Strathmore is an amazing place with amazing local businesses and true to form, once we started, people were just stepping up and willing to pitch in,” said Hintz. “Every step of the way, Strathmore’s businesses, individuals (and) community members have just been amazing.”

Anna Sobolieva, a SHS graduating student who was involved in the planning and construction, said it was surreal to see the project finally come to fruition.

“I just feel honoured to be part of it and I wish I could have put more effort into this … it’s just one of those things that everyone always talks about and it feels much different to actually do it and make these dreams and ideas actually come to life,” said Sobolieva. “It feels much different when you theoretically think of all these things, versus when you actually get to do it and build this. Seeing it come to life and learning about it, I just feel like we are making the world a better place, especially because we do and not only talk about it.”

SHS maintains a Facebook page for community groups to connect with the school and potentially get involved.

For those in the community who are curious about the process of how it all came together, Hintz encourages folks to check out Awkward Aquaponics on YouTube, where much of the documentation of the project is posted.

This item reprinted with permission from The Times, Strathmore, Alberta