If you are a student at the University of Missouri, you may have noticed some congestion when you park in AV-14. As you look around, trying to figure out why you can’t find a parking space, you see large, unfinished greenhouses under construction in what used to be a part of your lot.
While a lot of people see these structures as the primary cause of the lack of empty parking spaces, I see it as an opportunity for many students on campus. The campus greenhouse facilities provide students with on-campus jobs, experience, and research opportunities.
Now, some of you may be thinking that MU already has enough greenhouses as is. Although MU does have multiple greenhouses, the increase in plant-related research means students and researchers have outgrown the facilities already being used. Also, some of the older greenhouses are not up-to-date on the new technologies, which doesn’t make them the most well-suited option for extensive research.
The project proposal for the new East Campus Plant Growth Facilities Complex being built in AV-14 states that the construction will include two greenhouses. These two greenhouses will provide 28 compartments and 52 to 77 growth chambers. Growth chambers allow for researchers to control the environment including things such as temperature, amount of light, and humidity levels. The addition of these greenhouse will increase the number of accessible growth chambers on campus by more than three times its current size.Michelle Brooks, greenhouse coordinator at the University of Missouri, explained that the East Campus Greenhouses are better suited for research because they contain improvements in equipment and they are more environmentally controlled.
Brooks also stated that students could use the height of the new greenhouses to their advantage. She says that because the East Campus Greenhouses will be taller than the existing greenhouses, they are better for growing tall plant species, such as maize or certain grasses.
These greenhouse complexes make a wonderful contribution to the plant sciences program and to the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources at MU. They supplement student learning because they allow students to conduct their own research on a variety of topics including physiological structures of plants, plant anatomy, and plant genes.
The demand for altering plant genes to make crops more efficient is higher now than ever. Gene altering is a way to make crop production more efficient, and there is a lot of crop research being done in the campus facilities. The greenhouse structures allow for students to be more prepared and have more experience post-graduation when they are searching for a job within the plant sciences industry.
Although the East Campus greenhouses may cause parking inconveniences from time to time, they also provide many others with an abundance of opportunities within the plant science industry. Next time you get frustrated driving up and down the aisles, desperate for a single open spot, consider how much these greenhouses will help future students at MU.