ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) – The Growing Dome in the front lawn of St. Albans High School is helping to bring education to life. There is still a little more work to do but soon it will be a learning hub.
“The shape of the dome allows for it to be temperature controlled year round,” explained Caitlyn Dixon. She is the Science Department Chair and the STEM Program Director. “The interior temperature is also regulated by a large water tank.”
The Growing Dome was paid for with a grant from the Toshiba America Foundation and the West Virginia Department of Education.
“It will encourage students interest in sustainable agriculture,” she said, adding that they will use the produce that is grown in Prostart and culinary programs at the high school.
“Right now what you are seeing are temperature controlled vents and actually as the temperature increases within the dome they will open and close automatically,” she said while explaining why the Grow Dome isn’t like an average greenhouse.
There is a 700 gallon tank inside that will help regulate the temperature and be used for hydroponics and aguaponics.
“This tank is large enough to house growing species of trout,” Dixon said. “We do have a teacher that works closely with the DNR to raise trout for release. He is really excited about this opportunity as well.”
Even though the dome isn’t operational yet, it has already been a learning experience for students.
“They did a full year solar study to determine where it would go. They had to put together a proposal and pitch it to our administration,” Dixon said.
Students also designed the layout of the interior. The plan is for all 10th grade biology students to have experience with the dome.
Right now they are working on raising money to pay for the construction of raised beds. If you want to help you can donate directly to the school and note that the donation is intended for the Growing Dome.