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Demolition, reconstruction in future for science, garden houses

April 11, 2014

Zach Johnson / The Courier - Monmouth students create mounds in preparation for planting asparagus last Saturday at the Monmouth College Mini-Farm.

During the past four years, the idea of an educational garden and experimental farm cultivated by college students grew into a reality at 1042 E. Broadway, where a group of students live each year growing and eating their own food. In the “fairly near future,” according to Monmouth College President Mauri Ditzler, the educational garden project will grow in another way: a newer, “greener” house.

“When we got started, we put that group in a small house, and it was one of the older houses that we owned,” said Ditzler. “It was adjacent to the garden, and the project wasn’t very big yet. But over time, as we’ve seen the project begin to grow and look like it’ll be around long-term, we decided that we ought to replace the old, worn-out garden house.”

The house was built for residential structures, not student inhabitation. Structural and plumbing issues have repeatedly caused maintenance difficulties that caused administrators decide that students in the house need to be moved out.

“You begin to worry about the safety of the house,” Ditzler said about the older houses. “We need to tear it down because it’s worn out. Because the [garden house] project has been so successful, we want to keep it going, which means we need to replace it with something else, and we’ve begun to have that conversation.”

Exact details are not concrete, but students living in the garden house or otherwise involved with the educational garden, including senior Will Terrill, have begun discussion on what a new house would feature starting last Saturday at an informal meeting.

“We want to work with the garden house to suit needs and values of the garden crew,” said Terrill. “We’ve looked at green architecture and lead certification. We want the new house to be environmentally friendly.”

Since the women of science house is next door to the garden house and is facing similar difficulties that come with being an older house, it may also be fazed out with the garden house. Exact plans for new construction are still in development.

“The garden house and the women of science house are very important projects so we’re not going to just tear the houses down and move the students back into the dormitories,” Ditzler said. “We would find an interim place for them and then find a long term solution. We don’t know exactly what those long term solutions are.”

Cassie Burton
News Editor

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