Ivy Tech Community College’s Fort Wayne Campus hosted a $61,000 check presentation on Aug. 16 to recognize Old National Bank, which is donating $50,000 during the next three years toward the College’s new greenhouse currently in development on the southwest corner of The Steel Dynamics, Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center.
Old National Bank is contributing an additional $11,000 during the next three years to provide scholarships for Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana clients who will be participating in an agriculture and culinary training program.
The greater than 3,000-square-foot greenhouse is being financed by $486,000 in donations and grants from private individuals and foundations and will open with a formal dedication next spring.
“We are extremely grateful to our friends at Old National Bank for being among our major community partners in bringing this project together. It’s going to be a state-of-the-art facility that our College and city can be proud of,” says Margaret Sturm, executive director of resource development.
Once completed in early fall, the greenhouse will enable the College to better serve its rapidly growing Agriculture and Hospitality Administration programs. Agriculture majors will use the greenhouse to conduct soil and plant experiments, as well as grow a limited variety of produce, and hospitality administration majors will incorporate this yield into their classroom cooking assignments.
“We anticipate our (enrollment) numbers to increase,” says Kelli Kreider, chair of the Agriculture program. “We also hope to attract a different audience wishing to learn how to grow food using non-traditional farming methods.”
The greenhouse will feature hydroponic (soil-less grown plants) and aquaponics (hydroponics assisted by farmed fish) systems, as well as a fish-raising area and a “glass classroom” that can double as growing space.
New course work linked to the greenhouse will include aquaculture (raising fish), greenhouse management, hydroponics and wine appreciation.