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Wednesday, January 16, 2013 7:44 PM

Ottawa OKs school greenhouse

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer

Ottawa High School soon will be getting a greenhouse.

The Ottawa school board gave Ryan Cobbs, OHS principal, permission to proceed with the project at its meeting Monday night.

Jeff Hammons, with Quality Structures Inc., Richmond, has offered to supply the materials for the 16 foot-by-32 foot greenhouse at the company’s cost of $14,660, Cobbs told the school board. QSI is an award-winning contractor/builder that serves clients in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa.

Hammons, who is president of the current Leadership Franklin County class, said he wanted to make the same offer available to OHS, 1120 S. Ash St., Ottawa, that he already has extended to Wellsville High School, where the leadership class is building a greenhouse as a community service project, Cobbs told the board. The leadership program is designed to develop current and future leaders in the area.

“This wouldn’t be a Leadership Franklin County project,” Cobbs said. “But Mr. Hammons wanted to make the same offer to us to supply the greenhouse materials at cost.”

OHS has obtained a $5,000 grant from American Eagle Outfitters, 1529 N. Davis Ave., Ottawa, which would trim the project’s cost to $9,660, Cobbs said. He said the school district would be responsible for obtaining the necessary building permits from the city. Cobbs also said some skilled laborers with Walmart’s operations in Ottawa — where it has a supercenter and a distribution center — also would be willing to assist with the construction.

“We would like to put the greenhouse where the former TAPs modular is located on the school grounds,” Cobbs said. “We shouldn’t have any problems with electric and plumbing hook-ups at that site.”

The high school’s biology, agriculture and life skills instructors already have expressed interest in using the greenhouse, Cobbs said.

“The greenhouse’s uses could be multi-faceted,” Cobbs said. “I think this is an excellent educational opportunity for our school, that we would have no trouble sustaining for a number of years.”

“It sounds like a great opportunity,” Susan Ward, board president, said. “Let’s do it.”

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at dcarder@ottawaherald.com

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