ABERDEEN, S.D. – A new greenhouse could soon be home to plant studies
at Northern State University.
The South Dakota Board of Regents on Dec. 4 gave initial approval of plans for an approximately 960-square-foot greenhouse next to the MeWaldt-Jensen Building on the NSU campus.
Since 2008, NSU’s biology and environmental science
majors have increased by 66 percent. The greenhouse will allow year-round, hands-on plant study, laboratory instruction and research. Plants currently are kept in teaching labs or a lab preparation area, which has limited space and does not provide an optimal learning experience.
“A campus greenhouse is vital to our on-going university research activities,” said NSU President James Smith. “The majority of active scientific research conducted by faculty and undergraduates at NSU is currently in the area of biology and environmental sciences.”
Plans outline a multi-chambered facility with a general use area and several separate rooms, one of which would provide a secure area for transgenic research. Other faculty research includes mosquito control, water quality, environmental genetics, and the effect of contaminants on vertebrate embryos.
“A greenhouse with designated space for use with transgenic crop plants is critical to NSU’s ability to play an active role in support of the state’s emphasis in the areas of biotechnology, including research and preparing students for advanced degrees in plant and animal bioscience, as well as value-added agriculture,” said Smith.
The estimated $750,000 cost of the project would be funded through South Dakota’s Higher Education Facilities Fund, money that’s set aside as a percentage of certain tuition and fees for facilities. NSU received an additional allocation of HEFF funds to be used specifically for this greenhouse project.
Smith said the greenhouse will be a key component of NSU’s growth strategy, and will support South Dakota’s 2020 Vision by increasing the STEM talent base and providing tools to foster innovative ideas in energy and the environment, human health and nutrition, and plant and animal bioscience.