David W. Kramer dkramer at POSTBOX.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Fri Oct 27 11:29:21 EST 1995

Gary Kuleck, Biology Department, Loyola Marymount University writes:

>    My colleague and I are the plant biologists in our department and we are
>trying to procure funding to construct new or expand our extremely limited
>house space (280 sq ft) for the purposes of undergraduate teaching and
>Is there anyone out there who has had experience in planning such facilities
>obtaining funding for this purpose? Since NSF doesn't currently fund
>renovation, which agency(ies) might?

I haven't done this recently but here are a few suggestions.

(1) You might check to see if students of a vocational/technical program in
your area high schools would construct the facility (you buy materials,
they provide labor).  These programs frequently are looking for practical
projects through which their students learn marketable skills.
(2) There might be a men's garden club in your area that would love to
build your greenhouse as a public service project.  I belong to the
Mansfield Men's Garden Club and we built a greehouse at a local vocational
school several years ago.  It is used most of the year for the horticulture
program at the school but in the Spring the MMGC fills it with mum cuttings
for our annual Spring mum sale.  Even growing the mums is a good experience
for the vocational school students and it helps the MMGC because our
members don't have to go there several times a day to water.  Through such
an arrangement you might get a much larger greenhouse for your use much of
the year.  This might also be the answer to the funding problem.
(3) In Ohio we have the Civilian Conservation Corp (correct name?) which
takes teenagers and young adults with discipline problems and attempts to
teach them a trade.  They have built picnic shelters, bus shelters, picnic
tables, etc. for our campus.  Sometimes they even pay for the materials but
in any case they provide the labor.  Maybe there's something like this in
your state.

(1) Ask your institution to give you a "loan" for the greenhouse which you
will repay (with or without interest) over x years through profits from a
plant sale which you (preferably your botany or horticulture students)
conduct every autumn shortly after the students arrive.  Students will buy
plants for their dorm rooms, they will learn something about plants, and
you will make enough money to buy your greenhouse... and to buy specimen
plants for it!
(2) In your area there will be a "federation of garden clubs" (or similar
name) which can buy your greenhouse as a civic project.  These clubs
frequently award student scholarships for students interested in
botany/horticulture.  While you're talking to them about the greenhouse,
get them to give you scholarships, too!  As an incentive you might offer to
give a 10% discount to any member of the federated garden clubs at your
annual plant sale.
(3) Ask local civic clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Exchange, Altrusa, etc.
(4) Ask local foundations.
(5) In our area there are many commercial growers going out of business as
a result of foreign imports of flowers and vegetables.  Ask one of these
companies to give you a greenhouse (one of their smaller ones... or even
one of their larger ones is probably built in modules that can be resized)
and they can take a tax write-off as a gift to your university.
(6) Ask your university to put it on their list of "bricks and mortar"
needs.  It's relatively easy to find an alumnus who will tumble for this
kind of gift (but you might have to call it the John Smith Memorial
Greenhouse!).  A similar approach is to write to all the alumni of your
department and ask them to contribute to a fund for a new greenhouse.  Many
of them have maintained a life-long interest in botany or might even be
professional botanists who would like to know how they can repay you for
all your excellent teaching.
(7) Put a small ad in the classified section of the local newspaper asking
for the donation of a greenhouse.  It's very likely that you will find
someone who built one on their private property several years ago and then
discovered how much work it is!

Don't forget to plan for the ongoing expense of maintaining a greenhouse:
student labor for watering/potting/etc., heating, cooling (shading),
replacing glass, etc.

Hope this gets you started.  It's called "creative financing"!  Good luck!
Please let the Plant Ed mail list know how you reach your goal.

Dr. David W. Kramer
Assistant Professor of Plant Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906
(419) 755-4344  FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at

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