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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Greenhouse construction in full bloom

Greenhouse construction in full bloom

It takes more than sunlight and water to grow a new greenhouse for the city. Westminster has been growing over 35,000 plants a year for its parks, facilities and streetscapes in its current greenhouse at 7152 Raleigh St. since 1995 and needs a larger pot, so to speak. To accommodate its existing operations and expanded growing for Westminster Station Park, Downtown Westminster and other areas, the city is constructing a new greenhouse and administration building adjacent to the existing one.

Construction began on the greenhouse and administration building in November 2018. The new greenhouse will have a similar layout to the existing one and double its plant production space to 12,000 square feet. The administration building will be about 1,800 square feet of office and meeting space for five greenhouse employees and five Westminster Station Parks Maintenance staff.

“We’re incorporating a conference room into the admin building for the community to use, which would be a first for the city,” said project manager and Senior Landscape Architect Nicole Ankeney. “We also will have a plaza open to the public with space for demonstration gardens, a small pergola and permeable pavers to meet stormwater management requirements.”

The site used to house the city’s England Water Treatment Plant, which was decommissioned and torn down in 2012. Part of the greenhouse construction project included removing foundations of that water treatment facility. As a part of this project, the existing garage was demolished with its contents relocated or donated.

Once construction for the greenhouse began in earnest, it went quickly. Once the foundation was completed for the greenhouse, the trusses/framework came together within about a week. After the administration building’s foundation was poured, the walls came together via precast concrete panels that were connected together.

“The exterior of the admin building consists of 12 panels that come together to form the four sides,” said Ankeney. “The construction company built that part in about a week.”

Several environmentally sustainable features are included in the expansion. The plaza and employee parking lot will have permeable pavers to manage stormwater quality. In addition, the office building will have approximately 500 square feet of green roof above the conference room.

“The greenhouse staff is very excited about this project as they have needed additional space for a while,” said Ankeney.

The greenhouse portion of the project is scheduled to be operational in March, which would be in time for the spring growing season. The administration building and site work should be completed by the end of June.

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