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A 3,000-square foot, $450,000 greenhouse is in the works for Tipton High School. The greenhouse stands to bolster an already strong ag program that has more than 200 middle and high school students. The facility will give students the ability to grow flowers, plants and vegetables using both soils and hydroponics. The chance to grow year round offers opportunities to grow more — and grow plants not native to the area.

Hands-on possibilities are the main draw and means students can apply more of what they learn in the classroom, said high school principal Rik Stillson. Superintendent Ryan Glaze said they want to increase course offerings at the high school while also maintaining interest at the middle school level.

Jeff Rodibaugh, president of Friends of Tipton FFA, said there’s been early enthusiasm for the project, and not just from agri-businesses. “That’s what we think is really exciting about it,” he said. “With this community support, we are going to build it the best we can. We’re not going to skimp on the technology.”

With nine plant and seed companies in Tipton County, and another eight in surrounding counties, it’s not hard to see why a project aimed at boosting Tipton’s agriculture program was well-received by the community. “We’re in an absolute agriculture hub, and all this just adds more to that,” Glaze said. “We have all kinds of opportunities for partnerships.”

There’s a demand for a local ag workforce — it’s part of the reason why Tri-Central is bringing back its program — and the addition of a greenhouse and subsequent courses might interest even more students in the agriculture sector. “You can broaden kids’ ideas of what they can do after they graduate from here,” Stillson said.

Read the complete article at www.kokomotribune.com.