OAKLAND — The Messalonskee Garden Club’s 18-by-28-foot greenhouse project is complete, according to a news release from the school. The polycarbonate siding that was installed gives a plastic wrap sense of completion to the greenhouse that stands between the mathematics wing and tennis courts at Messalonskee High School. The siding installation completes the first phase of the project. Phase II is the work that must take place inside the greenhouse to make it operational.

The following students, all seniors, started the Garden Club: Kristy Prelgovisk, Savannah Hartford, Allison Leighton, Chelsea Robbins, Marisa Schaller, Amber Sutherland, Brie Hopkins and Emily Pellerin. With the help of grants and local businesses the club secured more than $15,000 in one year to see this dream come true. Two student-led grants, Disney for Change and Sodexo, were awarded to Kristy Prelgovisk. The greenhouse structure was built with donated funds, grants and donated labor.

Students in the Garden Club created the vision, helped generate the funding, and contributed some of the labor needed to turn their idea into a blossoming greenhouse.

With in the next month, the greenhouse is to be wired for electricity and a heater installed. Running water in the greenhouse, on the other hand, will not be installed until next school year. In the meantime, students will tote buckets of water to the greenhouse to meet the needs of growing plants and flowers. Students in Katie McLaughlin’s Life Skills Class will help maintain the greenhouse.

Phase II will begin after the holiday break. The plan is to start seedlings in January and harvest vegetables and berries, according to the release. This would include lettuce, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach and strawberries, that can enhance the school cafeteria menu and provide fresh food to area food banks.

In the coming year, there are plans for the greenhouse to function as a classroom for a dual enrollment introduction to agriculture course that students can take to earn credit from both Messalonskee and Kennebec Valley Community College.

The club will continue to fundraise for Phase II of the greenhouse. This will include items needed for inside the greenhouse such as benches, a sink, and growing lights. Donations to the Greenhouse can be made at Messalonskee High School, attention Greenhouse Club or email club advisor Beth Prelgovisk at [email protected].