Educational Partnerships: Local greenhouse partners with JDA, Killdeer ag students for project

The Spring Creek Greenhouse, owned by Jenni Wallace, is partnering with the Killdeer ag program to build a shed. Photo by Zak Wellerman

Killdeer ag mechanics students will have the chance to gain hands-on experience in construction this semester as they build a shed for the Spring Creek Greenhouse.

By Zak Wellerman
Jenni Wallace, the owner of Spring Creek Greenhouse, approached ag teacher David Leier about the project. Leier took the opportunity to change up the curriculum and saw interest from the students.
Leier said he and the students have developed a good partnership with Spring Creek, and the greenhouse gave them a location to build the shed.
The greenhouse also helps out the school’s garden near the football field and track. The garden products are donated to the school cafeteria and food pantry, Wallace said.
“It will give them real life and hands-on experience. They’ll go through the learning process of building something,” Leier said. “It might get them interested in a career in construction or help them out when they become a home owner some day.”
Wallace received a business expansion grant from the Dunn County Job Development Authority to fund the building, which takes the financial impact off of the school. The project for the grant must be used for expansion or beautification, Wallace added.
The Dunn County Board of Directors overwhelming approved the grant for the greenhouse. They were especially interested in the “reinvestment in the community” that comes with local businesses and the school working together, JDA Economic Development Director Carie Boster said.
Wallace presented estimates for the project to the JDA in order to be reimbursed for up to $4,000, Boster said.
“The business expansion grant is based on matching funds for the business to an extent and goes to a local business owner who has been in business to expand by offering new services to the community,” Boster said.
A key point to the project is that it must be local. Anyone in Dunn County can come talk to the JDA for a grant similar to the one awarded to Spring Creek. The JDA is particularly interested in businesses offering residents opportunities, better quality of life and adds more community options, Boster added.
“The kids get a great project to work on and gain hands-on skills, and I get a shed. They can drive by the greenhouse and say I built that. It’s always a great sense of pride to see something like that in the community,” Wallace said. “I think it’s really beneficial to have a nice building to keep tools and seeds. Right now there’s no hard structure for storage. We’ve been thinking about a shed for a long time. Mr. Leier helping is a huge benefit.”
The students should be starting in a few weeks after learning some background information in the classroom about constructing the shed. The students, made up of juniors and seniors, will work in a rotation during school hours to build the shed to completion by April, Leier said.
“It gives real life and real-world experience and hands-on learning rather than looking at pictures and they can see the progress of their work,” Leier said.
Future projects will depend on the need and interests of the students regarding the curriculum, Leier said.
Spring Creek Greenhouse opens May 1 and it will be going into its fifth year of business.

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