When Principal Cheryl Turpin suggested that a greenhouse be built as an extended classroom for Stevens Brook Elementary School, she thought it would take a “little time” to raise money for the project.
It took longer than expected — nine years.
“I just wanted to be alive to see this project done,” joked Turpin as she led youngsters representing each class at the school to the greenhouse site for a photo. “When you are raising money at $500 at a time, that takes a long time. We’ve had many events to raise money and we’ve had a few grants (the biggest being $1,500 Berlin City Auto), but they were small. We haven’t had huge chunks, so it’s been in small increments. We’ve raised $35,000.”
Originally, the school considered a 20-by-30 greenhouse, but costs pushed the group to scale back to 16-by-24, which carried a price-tag of $20,995. Site work came in at $10,200, and there will still be some electrical and plumbing work. Turpin said the goal is to include raised beds and buy various supplies like pots, tools and soil.
“On a yearly basis, there will be fundraising and some money will come from what the staff does — ex. wearing jeans on Friday, they pay $1 to do it. We’ll take that money and divide it in thirds — a third to high school seniors scholarship, a third to Writing Stars program, and a third to the greenhouse,” Turpin noted.