A Greenhouse On School Grounds

A commercial greenhouse is being constructed on the grounds of a public school in Brooklyn, NY, as part of the Edible Schoolyard program. Installing the facility is BC Greenhouse Builders, a North American custom greenhouse manufacturer of hobby and commercial greenhouses.


According to the Edible Schoolyard’s founder, restaurateur Alice Waters, the mission is to build and share an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school. In 1995, Waters started the Edible Schoolyard, which involves students in all aspects of farming the garden and preparing, serving, and eating food.

In conjunction with Work AC, the architects on the project, the classroom greenhouse is the heart of the project at the school PS 216.

“We were approached in late 2011 to provide quotes and specifications for this greenhouse so it’s great to see it come to life,” says Kyle Exner, business manager for BC Greenhouse Builders. “What makes this greenhouse interesting is the unique design created by the team at Work AC. The greenhouse has a reverse design where it slopes from the front to the back and incorporates a slight tilt on the front wall. This is meant to capture the maximum amount of winter sun for year-round growing.”

At 17-by-46 feet, the greenhouse is spacious and strong with sidewalls exceeding 15 feet and a substantial truss and purlin support system.

“What was critical for the construction of this greenhouse was to ensure safety for the students, that all building codes are met, and that the space is the most efficient for their use,” says Exner.

According to the Edible School Yard New York website,“Today nearly 50% of New York City’s public elementary school students are obese or overweight. They’re part of the first generation of children forecast to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. A childhood plagued by obesity could result in an adulthood hampered by heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure.”

According to Angela Drake, marketing director at BC Greenhouse Builders, “As a company, the team was really excited about this project because many of us have school-age children and we can relate to the need to ensure a healthy future for our children. The lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a problem that can be solved through the combined efforts of a community.”

Click here to view photos of the greenhouse.