What’s up with the Prep Greenhouse?


The Seattle Prep Greenhouse, where Mr. Chism currently grows French Marigolds, African Marigolds, Lavender, Rosemary, Cucumber, Dahlias, Cherry Rose Sunflower, Red Sunflower; all started from seed.

Abby Wilwerding, Staff Writer

One overlooked feature of Prep is its greenhouse, located on the third floor of McDonnell Hall. Built in 1984, it has been used by students and faculty alike for numerous educational and practical purposes. When the science floor in the old Adelphia building was totally redone, the greenhouse was installed.  

It was included in the plans during that renovation to be available to biology classes that were working with plants and other such botany investigations” explained science teacher, Mr. Niggemeyer 

Mr. Meza, also a science teacher, remarked that the “greenhouse was used regularly as part of our Biology curriculum.  We had students actively working on Bio labs involving plant growth.  Most labs were student-designed, & class time was given for students to record data.”  

It was used for several years for the “Plant Project” during sophomore biology. However, the science teachers agreed that it wasn’t used as much as they hoped.  

Niggemeyer explained that the greenhouse often got too hot for “optimum plant growth especially in late spring and summer 

It’s currently not being used by any science classes, but instead by Campus Security Monitor and well-known favorite of Prep, Mr. Chism. 

When asked what inspired him to start using the greenhouse, Chism explained how his grandfather was a farmer in Aylett Virginia, just outside of Richmond. He grew tobacco and a variety of vegetables. Reminiscing about his great memories of spending his summers in the fields with him, he decided to keep it up.  

“Besides, there’s nothing better than fresh vegetables or the smell of sliced crispy cucumber in the house” he added.  

The best thing he’s planted is zucchini, “when it starts growing you can’t eat it fast enough.” 

In successful years, he’s even been able to share his harvest with his neighbors. He encourages anyone to try gardening, because of the rewarding process of watching plants go from start to finish. 

Aside from Chism, the past janitorial staff has used it to grow plants and herbs. It was also used to help start plants that would later be moved out onto the prep campus once they grew. Clearly, the greenhouse has been enjoyed by the Prep community and will be continued to be cherished in the future.