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Customer Testimonials - Shanahan Middle School

Challenge - Lack of outdoor learning space
Solution - GrowSpan Gothic Pro Greenhouse
Size - 20' wide x 20' long
Application - Learning space for wellness initiative
Location - Lewis Center, OH

Shanahan Middle School, in Lewis Center, OH, has been involved in wellness initiatives over the past four years to help students engage in gardening, while addressing the health benefits of consuming unprocessed food. Cynthia Walters, a teacher at the school, is also the initiator and founder of the Shanahan Middle School Greenhouse Project. She explains, "I work with the district to implement wellness-based curriculums and events, and serve as an advocate to improve lunch and snack options for students nationwide." The Shanahan Middle School Greenhouse Project marries sixth grade plant-based learning, the general science curriculum and wellness initiatives to "empower students to make healthy choices."

Walters explains, "For the last five years, we have been growing fruits and vegetables in raised garden beds and started seeds inside classrooms with some success. Based on the interest in growing food year round and the need for a centralized outdoor learning space for over 800 students, we decided to raise money for a greenhouse at the school." Once the money was raised, Walters needed to find a greenhouse that fit the needs of the school. She says, "GrowSpan was an affordable choice and our National Account Manager made the process much less cumbersome. For a school, purchasing a greenhouse involves many daunting tasks, including securing engineering plans and passing inspections. GrowSpan is a great option for those who need a commercial structure that will have engineering drawings available and clearly pass inspections."

There are many aspects of the greenhouse that impress Walters, but she especially likes how durable the structure is. She says, "Ohio had some high winds this summer that reached over 80 mph and the building had no damage at all." She is also happy with the appearance, noting that, "It looks like a commercial-grade building, but is safe for a classroom setting." Last, Walters was pleased with the fact that she could have multiple entry doors in the greenhouse. "The two doors allow for better access for students and provide great ventilation inside."

When the greenhouse was completed in January 2012, all SMS students took a tour of the greenhouse and learned about how a greenhouse works and how it would be used in the future. At the end of the school year, sixth grade science students were engaged in hands-on experiences in the structure. The greenhouse is a great addition to the school grounds and will be involved in a variety of growing projects during the 2012-2013 school year. Walters adds, "The Shanahan Greenhouse Project has brought individuals together to work as a community to promote good health. Teachers and staff from different disciplines have collaborated to implement a curriculum that offers students hands-on experience to apply their knowledge in real-life applications. Parents and staff worked many hours to construct the greenhouse, demonstrating their commitment to utilizing the structure in the years to come."

Walters believes that this structure will be a great asset for the school's curriculum. She says, "The opportunities for this greenhouse are endless. We have high expectations for the use of the structure in the future, such as creating a business to support the project. Going through the process of purchasing and constructing a greenhouse allowed me to learn and help others who are starting a greenhouse project. I am glad I helped build the structure so I have full knowledge of the project from beginning to end."

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