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New greenhouse facility contains upgraded technology, additional rooms for division of activities

Located in Bush Science Center, greenhouse allows for educational, research opportunities

The new greenhouse, previously mentioned in The Sandspur, is located in the Bush Science Center on the third floor and has been available for use since September 2020. 

Alan Chryst, the greenhouse manager, has been a member of Rollins faculty since 1998. He maintains the greenhouse and its plants and provides materials for classes, lectures, and labs for student and faculty research. An on-campus greenhouse has been available to students since 1983.

The old greenhouse consisted of one 2,700 square foot room, and it did not have a weather station. Chryst was able to control the misting, heating, and cooling, but with limited technology that had to be done on-site. The old location was by Lake Virginia. 

The new greenhouse is 2,242 square feet and consists of four rooms. The headhouse is where students and faculty can pot, wash, replant, and do general work and maintenance. Room A is the Collection Room, an educational space that houses plants for faculty to use in classes. Room B is the Student Research Room, and Room C is the Faculty Research Room. 

A new addition to the greenhouse is the SEED control panel, which controls the temperature, humidity, and irrigation of each zone. One of the rooms consists of cacti and succulents; therefore, the room has to have a warmer and drier climate. Chryst can control the program from his laptop at home. 

There is a new weather station on top of the greenhouse and connected to the SEED that determines when the fans will turn on. 

“It is a very sophisticated system,” said Chryst. Each table can be controlled individually with misting and drip irrigation. 

The tops of the tables holding plants can slide back and forth to create aisles in between the tables, making easy access for students and faculty. 

Work-study students have a significant impact on the greenhouse. Dillon Dekalands (‘22) is an environmental studies and English major. He started his work-study with the greenhouse during the Spring 2021. He transports and trims the plants, cleans the greenhouse, and gets rid of any bugs that will kill or eat the plants. 

A few classes use the greenhouse, including B120, Plant Physiology, and some environmental studies courses. Chryst has been growing seeds for the labs of those classes. 

Chryst hopes that, when the pandemic passes, more classes will be able to use the greenhouse, which requires R-Card access. 

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