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home : education : schools August 18, 2017

4/18/2017 1:15:00 PM
New SHS greenhouse is dedicated
Audrey Tehan cuts the ribbon on Sisters High School’s new greenhouse as volunteer Dave Hiller and Superintendent Curtis Scholl look on. photo by Jeff Omodt
+ click to enlarge
Audrey Tehan cuts the ribbon on Sisters High School’s new greenhouse as volunteer Dave Hiller and Superintendent Curtis Scholl look on. photo by Jeff Omodt

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

The Sisters High School greenhouse rose like a phoenix - not out of ashes but out of a pile of snow. The original greenhouse, located at Sisters Middle School, collapsed under the sodden weight of a two-foot February snowstorm in 2014.

Since then, volunteers have put in thousands of hours and climbed over a variety of administrative, regulatory and engineering hurdles to raise a new greenhouse on the grounds of Sisters High School. And the greenhouse that was dedicated in a public ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, April 14, is by every measure an incomparable improvement over the demolished structure it replaced.

"We have potential to dream pretty big with this facility," SHS sustainable agriculture instructor Audrey Tehan told the assemblage at the ceremony. "This is going to be kind of our living laboratory ... figuring out different and more innovative ways to grow food."

The greenhouse features radiant floor heating, drip irrigation, aeroponics, and hydroponics test areas. The in-floor heating system has water heated from the bio-fuel plant that heats the school.

Tehan noted that students are responding in gratifying numbers to the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art facility "that has really sparked their creativity and imagination."

In keeping with the theme of producing food through local agriculture, attendees at the event dined on snacks created by the SHS Culinary Class.

The Sisters Science Club was a sparkplug behind the greenhouse construction effort, and David Hiller was the key volunteer. Hiller, a retired Merchant Marine with a background in engineering and architecture of large ships, developed the plans, designed, and helped build the facility, which is named "The Hiller" in his honor.

Hiller was quick to note that many hands raised the greenhouse.

"This was truly a community effort," he said, noting that all of the volunteers and the construction contractors who served on the project "really gave of themselves."

He noted that it is important for folks in Sisters to support the businesses that give so much to the community.

Numerous local businesses and individuals were acknowledged for their work in constructing the greenhouse.

SHS Principal Joe Hosang thanked the host of volunteers: "Time is the most precious commodity, and we are so grateful that you gave a ton of it."

After Tehan snipped the ribbon, officially opening the greenhouse (which has been growing food for a couple of months), SHS students Emma Bloss, Bradley Jarvis and Austin Morss offered tours.

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