What is the Student Greenhouse Project?
The Student Greenhouse Project is a student-led, student-driven initiative to create a tropical garden Biodome to transform the way we interact together. This will be an environmentally friendly and consciousness raising greenhouse in the center of campus. The social cohesion understandings gained here will propel this trailblazing facility to inspire similar nature-enhanced engagement centers across the country.
This project will have innumerable benefits for a variety of groups. For the community it provides a cozy, informal gathering place with fun evening events in a nature immersed activity venue. For individuals there is quiet personal time during the day on the winding paths of sun and green all year. Children can have inspiring early nature exposure with parents or on school field trips. For students it will provide stress relief, recovery from the rigors of the school year, and combat the higher rates of depression in the winter improving educational outcomes. For the elderly it can be utilized for medical recovery and health strolls while providing more social interaction and vertical integration of age groups. The social and health sciences will benefit from a high-density nature and interpersonal interaction study area for research projects. The green revolution and advanced tech companies will have a demonstration showcase for their newest innovations, like our BIPV transparent solar panels in the top of the dome. All these and more: parents, gardeners, entrepreneurs, change makers, which includes you, will find the Biodome fertile ground for growth.
Be a part of the nationwide support to establish one of the first Biodomes of its kind!
Biodome Technical Details:
Diameter: 150’ (45.7 m)
Height: 75’ (22.86 m)
Public Features: Nature --over 17,600 sq. ft. filled with lush tropical plants.
Performance Area -- 28’ x 17’ hemisphere, seating: 90 in 4 rows, + 16’ tall natural stone
Cliff as sound backdrop and 28’ x 16’ h x 2’ thick solar absorption thermal mass
Study Lounge -- 28’ x 36’, wireless internet through out
Conference Room -- 16’ x 12’, with under the falls view
Courts and Niches – 12 gathering and studying alcoves from 10’ circles to the 20’ x 12’ Upper Falls Court
Restrooms – 20’ x 14’ four fixture each plus 40 sq. ft. Unisex facility
Waterfalls – 14’ tall with 6’ plunge pool and 2’ lower falls cascade
Pond - 45’ x 15’, 4’ deep with 100’ stream
Bridge over the Canyon – 20’ long x 10’ wide at 14’ height
Fully Accessible – Graded walks, ramps, turnouts and path width exceed American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) code standards. Everyone can go up over the 14’ waterfall and look out from the Vista Overlook across the tropical valley.
Support Features: Office – 20’ x 16’
Green Workroom – 20’ x 28’ with waterfall recirculation pump room, 4’ x 8’, on side
Systems Control Room – 12’ x 15’
Electrical Room – 20’ x 20’
Mechanical Room -- 20’ x 40’ with air handler units, and fire suppression pump to push to the 75’ peak for dispersal
Water Catchment System – rainwater collection and storage tanks for natural watering
Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) transparent solar panels in Biodome top from 45o up, sourced from Onyx Solar
Graywater Digester and Recycling System for pond water recharge.
Green Roofs – 2340 sq.ft of internal second level garden space.
-3.5” Aluminum Stock Struts, ¼” thick walls
-Triangular 3/8” Acrylic or double strength glass panels, plus BIPV Panels
Foundation: Insulated reinforced concrete ring for flow through drainage to prevent salinization.
What We Have Done:
The Student Greenhouse Project is a non-profit corporation. We have a designated site on the 2020 Vision Master Plan Campus Map. We have selected Geometrica for construction and engineering. Our proposal has been submitted and approved and we are working with Infrastructure, Facilities and Planning for thoroughly vetted construction cost numbers, presently
What We Want To Do:
The money raised on Kickstarter will be spent on full engineering analysis and blueprinting. We are working to locate additional sources of funding and maintain continued community support. We are moving through the process to receive final approval to begin construction.
Risks and challenges
Our primary site choice is Michigan State University in East Lansing. We have been working with the administration a number of years. There are a series of authorizations required and navigating these to final approval by the Board of Trustees is an ongoing process. Concurrently, we have had inquiries and offers from local municipalities. Presently we believe that the MSU campus provides the largest user base as a proving ground for the social engagement features we are developing.
--- Maintaining political capital with changing MSU administrators’ priorities.
--- Maintaining awareness and engagement with the continuously renewing student body.
--- Growing the outreach campaign.
--- Time frames -- because of the size of the project and the size and conservative nature of the university leadership very long time frames for construction projects happen on campus.
---- Double-sided coin-- The unique design and purposes of the facility make inseparable pluses and minuses. State building codes in Michigan have not caught up with Green Building designs. Our large interior public garden complex is an A3 designation, requiring $400,000 dollars of fire suppression equipment to be up to code. This, in spite of being over 70% tropical garden that is watered from above twice a day. The rainwater harvesting system also outstrips regulatory comprehension, Another such system on campus is off-line due to these constraints. Our projected system is a “rain barrel” plant watering system, so we have an advantage in navigating state oversight. Everything about an advanced new type of facility comes with laudable enthusiasm from prospective users and the design team but with hesitations and concerns from regulators and permitting agencies.
--- Strong concept grounded in unequivocal research into the positive benefits and utilization outcomes of a highly accessible community green space.
--- Inspiring design configured and detailed from environmental psychology, social science and landscape architecture principles.
--- Enduring student and community enthusiasm coupled with evolving organizational skills, backed up by demonstrated perseverance and constancy of vision.
--- Broad support base in the community.
--- Diversity in the internal membership of the organization i.e. both students, older university staff and long term residents working together to further the project.
Special thanks to our first media supporters:
Video Music: Corporate Software by Scott Holmes
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