A repurposed bus, a dream and leadership is all it took for the Academy of Building Industries to create its own special greenhouse.
“We had an old school bus that once it stopped working we were going to take to the junkyard,” said Jean Thomas, Academy of Building Industry principal. “Instead, we decided to recycle the bus and build our greenhouse on it.
“However, in order to complete the greenhouse, we needed to raise $20,000. So we would like to thank the community, our sponsors and donors who made this entire project possible.”
Thomas said the greenhouse, tended to by students and staff, provides enough vegetables to offer an organic salad bar as well as ingredients to make a fresh salsa for the students.
“Besides the benefits of having a fresh salad bar, the students are also learning about the greenhouse process through STEAM (science, technology, energy, arts and math),” said Thomas. “With the greenhouse being powered by wind and solar energy, it adds another dimension to our STEAM program.”
With the Academy of Building Industries being a small charter school, Thomas said that science teacher Christopher Aldridge has added a few more classes to teach to his curriculum.
“People wear multiple hats here at our school. That’s why we want to keep this greenhouse relatively small,” said Thomas.
As of now, there is not much landscaping surrounding the greenhouse bus but Thomas said that they want to go for a steampunk look.
“We want our students to be working on various steampunk style sculptures and art to be placed around the bus,” said Thomas.
During the presentation of the greenhouse bus, the Mohave Valley Contractors Association donated $6,000 to the school. Mohave Shred also provided a check for $517.
The MVCA provided the impetus for opening the charter school in 2004, establishing the school to teach basic construction skills. It subsequently expanded to teach other trades.
Plans for the school’s growth are continuing, Thomas said.
“We want to add more classroom space to the academy because right now we have 125 students and our waiting list is expanding,” said Thomas. “I think if we get to 200 students, that would be a good number and we don’t lose the magic from having a small class size.”