The North Platte Natural Resources District in Scottsbluff, will begin construction on a geothermal greenhouse south of its building in the spring.
The greenhouse, which will be 126’ x 16’ and 14’ high, is modeled after the one in Alliance, and will include a teaching facility.
“The NRD has some property on the south side of their building, which they are long-term leasing,” said Jenifer Berge Sauter, NPNRD intern. “The greenhouse will be very efficient heat-wise, water-wise and aligns perfectly with what the NRD does.”
The greenhouse project will sit on 1.6 acres of land that is leased from the Airport Authority of Scotts Bluff County.
The greenhouse geothermal energy will come from tubes, which are placed an additional eight feet below the ground to bring air into a blower that circulates the air around the facility. Thermostatically controlled fans on the outside walls of the building will push hot air out in the summer and circulate warm air in the winter.
The greenhouse will grow everything from citrus trees to vegetables, which will be donated to the local Veterans Administration with any overflow going to local food pantries in Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Garden, and Banner counties.
Along with the produce, the NPNRD will be planting native grasses south of the building.
“We have 63 different grasses planned, for learning opportunities for ag students at the high schools to come practice and learn the grasses,” Berge Sauter said. “Also, people who want to plant grasses specific to western Nebraska will be able to come and look at them.”
The grasses are on schedule to be planted and since they are native it could take a year or more for them to become established.
“Along with the greenhouse we have a lot of things going on with the project,” said Barb Cross, NPNRD assistant manager. “One of my employees is a beekeeper and there will be bees in the pollinator corner.”
The green house will also be ADA compliant for wheel chair access.
The North Platte NRD will be fundraising to raise more than $74,000 for financing the acquisition of the greenhouse, installation costs, establishment of a picnic/outdoor classroom area and development of the grounds.
The project has received donations from area businesses and individuals.
For more information on the project or to donate contact Cross at 308-632-2749.