Cape Elizabeth teacher floats school greenhouse proposal

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CAPE ELIZABETH — With the School Board’s blessing, longtime biology teacher William Brewington will explore building a greenhouse at the high school.

“For several years, as a biology teacher, I have envisioned what the addition of such a facility could provide to enhance the life science curriculum of not only the high school biology courses, but also the science experiences of students from the middle school and Pond Cove,” he said. 

Brewington said he would begin looking into grants and fundraising opportunities from individuals, businesses, and organizations such as the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation to see the project entirely funded outside the School Department budget.  

He said he plans to learn more and network with other “school garden enthusiasts” at the ninth annual Maine School Garden Day on April 28. 

“The timing of the day was really convenient,” Brewington said April 23.

He also hopes to visit greenhouses at nearby schools, such as Falmouth High School, to see how they’re run and funded and what, if anything, might have been done differently in building them. 

If plans move forward, Brewington said he envisions independent studies, special education programming and perhaps a botany/horticulture class. 

“My vision is for a substantial structure, built to last for years, that could accommodate groups of students and be a fully functional science lab and greenhouse,” Brewington said. “The greenhouse would use green technology and become as self-sustaining as possible.”

Given the close proximity of all Cape Elizabeth schools on one campus, Brewington said he hopes the greenhouse could be used by all grade levels. He added that he’d prefer the building be at the high school, rather than at one of the farms in town.

“Our one-campus setting allows students to come over from the middle school or Pond Cove (Elementary School) pretty easily,” he said.

Brewington said he plans to establish one or two advisory boards for fundraising and design.

At the April 10 School Board meeting, members were generally receptive and encouraging of the idea and asked Brewington to give them until their May 8 meeting to provide him with more direction.

Chairwoman Susana Measelle Hubbs on April 10 compared the idea to a similar program at Portland Arts and Technology High School, which serves Cape Elizabeth and 17 other high schools.

“I’ve always been very admiring of the PATHS program and we wish that more people could access it,” Measelle Hubbs said. “I think if we could create something similar here that would be accessible to all grades that would be ideal.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Cape Elizabeth High School biology teacher Bill Brewington wants to build a greenhouse at the school through grants and donations.