Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Completion of Arctic Health Research Greenhouse begins

Phase 2 of the construction project for the completion of the Arctic Health Research Greenhouse will begin Nov. 1.

The $438,000 bid was awarded recently to Tatitlek Corp. Funding for the project was allocated to the greenhouse's ground level floor with money saved during the Margaret Murie Building construction project. Another $150,000 will go to Nexus for greenhouse equipment.

Cameron Wohlford, senior project manager (left) and Stephen Sparrow, SNRAS interim dean and AFES interim director, visit the greenhouse space that is set for completion.
"I'm excited to get it done," said UAF Senior Project Manager Cameron Wohlford. When the bottom floor is finished, the facility will encompass 10,000 square feet.

"The new greenhouse was an important, state-of-the-art addition to the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station facilities, but space is currently very tight, limiting the research and teaching we can do there, said Stephen Sparrow, interim dean of SNRAS and interim director of AFES.

"Completion of the the bottom part of the greenhouse will greatly enhance our ability to carry out these important activities."

The original AFES greenhouse was removed in March 2011 to make way for the Margaret Murie Building. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new greenhouse was held April 22, 2011 and the facility was ready for use by November 2011.

The final phase of the project will include painting the floors and walls, installing the exhaust and air supply system, adding heat around the perimeter and heat in the gables for snowmelt. The three additional modules total 2,160 square feet, bringing the greenhouse to seven modules, an environmental chamber and head house/classroom.

Subcontractors are Patrick Mechanical and Fullford Electric, who worked on the first phase of the project.

Construction should be completed by Feb. 15. By spring, researchers will be able to plant seeds for transplanting to the field and will have dedicated space for hydroponics and more LED work.

The module on the east side is equipped with blackout curtains, which will make it better for poinsettia growth and research. The curtains allow for day-length control, which is now having to be done manually.

Wohlford said, "I am glad we could reallocate the funds to finish this. It was sad to see the shelled-out space."
The greenhouse upon completion of Phase 1 in November 2011.

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