November 3, 2014

Cornell Completes $4.7 Million Greenhouse Reconstruction

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The University celebrated the completion of its newly rebuilt greenhouses — funded by a $4.7 million grant from the state — at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, Thursday.

The renovation lasted for approximately one year and resulted in a complete reconstruction of the greenhouses, according to Jan Nyrop, senior associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Nyrop added that the previous greenhouses — constructed between the mid-1950s and through the early 1970s — limited the ability for researchers to conduct experimentation.

“The houses had reached their end of life, were energy inefficient and did not provide state of the art conditions for experimentation,” he said.

The new greenhouses feature energy efficient glass and climate control, according to Thomas Burr, associate dean of the agriculture college and director of the experiment station.

“In the past, work in the summer was often hindered by inadequate temperature control, [and] in the winder by inadequate lighting and temperature control,” Burr said. “The new houses will have a major impact on our research as well as on partner programs in Geneva.”

Nyrop added that the greenhouses were rebuilt completely “from the ground up.”

“The focus of the Geneva campus is on fruit and vegetable development, production and use,” Nyrop said. “Modern greenhouses are perquisites for research on these subjects.”

According to Burr, funding for the project was secured by Sen. Michael Nozzolio ’73 (R-N.Y.).

Burr added that research in the field of plant science is dependent on having excellent facilities.

“The new greenhouses will enhance our research throughout the year and allow for greater productivity and ability to answer questions that will have direct impact on New York agriculture,” he said.

The renovation seeks to improve research and outreach programs run by faculty, according to a University document for the project.

New York State residents will benefit from the new greenhouses because the research conducted “supports local fruit and vegetable production,” according to Nyrop.

“The vibrant New York wine industry and two new apple varieties — Snap Dragon and Ruby Frost — are two specific examples of these benefits,” he said.

Greenhouses around the Ithaca campus — including the Conservatory Greenhouse attached to the Plant Science Building — are also undergoing renovation, Nyrop added.

“[We are replacing] the Conservatory Greenhouse attached to the Plant Science Building and [constructing] a new greenhouse at the Gutterman complex to replace aged and antiquated houses,” he said.

Nyrop said he believes the reconstructions will enable Cornell to maintain its position in the field of plant science.

“Cornell plant science has recently been named the best in the world among world universities by [the] U.S. News and World Report,” he said. “These facilities will help us retain this academic distinction.”