UAF hanging onto greenhouses for now

Posted: Wednesday, June 09, 2010

FAIRBANKS - Aging research greenhouses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks won't be demolished just yet.

The greenhouses are at the site of the proposed $109 million Life Sciences building, which still needs state funding. If the greenhouses were demolished and rebuilt elsewhere, it would cost the university $4.8 million it has yet to secure.

Campus planners decided to keep the greenhouses for now but leave them vacant.

Work at the research greenhouses will be distributed to other locations this winter. If funding for the Life Sciences building is approved, the greenhouses will be ready for demolition in time for the 2011 construction season.

The UA Board of Regents approved the plan last week.

"It's not perfect, but it's workable if we know it's a short-term solution," said Pat Pitney, UAF vice chancellor for administrative services.

A bond measure on November's statewide ballot includes money for the Life Sciences building and the relocation of the research greenhouses. Although the temporary greenhouses will force researchers to shift their experiments, the university won't take a financial hit if the bond measure fails.

The greenhouses are used for teaching and research activities for northern food crops. They also support existing local and exotic plant collections, and provide space for seed propagation.

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