US (PA): Mechanicsburg school board authorizes installation of hydroponics lab

The Mechanicsburg Area School Board last week authorized the purchase and installation of a hydroponics lab as part of the high school’s renovation project.

The school board initially reviewed Tuesday night’s accepted proposal for a Freight Farms Hydroponics Lab during a presentation by district administrators on Sept. 26. The lab will be located in a self-contained shipping container connected to the high school building.
This lab is intended as a “hands-on” student experience that has practical connections to a variety of curricular areas. “This will build on some of our existing STEAM initiatives,” said Greg Longwell, the district’s director of business operations/CFO.

According to last month’s presentation, the system will run from planting to harvested produce “in weeks” through computer-controlled automation and nutrient monitoring, as well as maintaining low water use through “reclamation.”

“Students will be able to grow a variety of plants using hydroponics,” Longwell said. “As part of the process, they will able to adjust variables like lighting intensity to learn about a variable of concepts.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines hydroponics as “the technique of growing plants using a water-based nutrients solution rather than soil.”


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