US (TX): Amarillo College breaks ground on $2M greenhouse, lab

Amarillo College on Monday planted the seed for new academic programs geared toward students underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The college’s biology department celebrated the start of construction on a new $2 million greenhouse and lab facility with an informal groundbreaking. The construction will be accompanied by a horticulture certificate and, later, four new degree pathways in the STEM fields.

The federally grant-funded project is centered around increasing participation in the number of Hispanic and other students from low-income backgrounds earning degrees in STEM fields.

The U.S. Department of Education funded the project last year with a $4.9 million Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant after deciding AC — with a student body that is about 40 percent Hispanic and made up mostly of first-generation college students — was a good fit.

The 12,400-square-foot greenhouse will have four bays, two instructional labs and state-of-the-art equipment — including root imaging systems and gene sequencing technology.

The facility will also have equipment for growing plants in soil-less hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic environments.

Read more at Amarillo Globe-News (Robert Stein)

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