Open house held for newly renovated class

Linda Garwood, wife of Landscaping and Environmental Design instructor John Garwood, talks about some of the mums in the greenhouse with Katie Kampfer and (right) Mary Jo Brown. (Photo by Deanne Johnson)

LISBON — The Columbiana County Career and Technical Center last week invited the public to see their newly renovated location for Landscaping and Environmental Design classes last week and the excitement was evident.

Dylan Schaefer, who is studying in the program from the Crestview district, was showing off the hydroponic plants in the greenhouse. Growing beets, lettuce and cucumbers as part of his project, Schaefer said one day they planted the seeds and in less than 24 hours, when the students returned to the greenhouse, there were sprouts.

“It was just amazing,” Schaefer said, talking about his project.

In addition, Schaefer has been learning about the different needs of different types of plants. How some need more shade while others require more sunlight. He notes with some of the plants in the greenhouse the students have learned to turn the lights out over them during the overnight hours, because those plants only like about 12 hours of light. While his mother used to move crops in her garden, Schaefer said he now has a better understanding about why she would rotate where they were planted from year to year.

He also has been using some large equipment at home for years, but now he has a chance to learn other equipment and to become certified at operating it.

“I will have all the hands-on experience I need,” Schaefer said if he plans to run a business when he graduates, adding he will just need the money to finance it.

Schaefer was one of several students talking about the program and showing off the equipment for those who dropped by the open house. Some former students came by to see how far the program has advanced.

Instructor John Garwood pointed out those students were the ones who gave the CCCTC board the confidence in the program to renovate the no longer in use horse arena area for a program which can give students a variety of career paths in the future.

“This is a dream come true for a lot of the generations of future students,” Garwood said.

Garwood was also giving tours of the facilities, talking about a pile of dirt in a box on the floor, where students are learning how to measure and design grades so water runs away from some areas and toward drainage areas. Students last year got to watch while greenhouse was planned and watch actual drainage issues addressed by leveling the area and the construction of a retaining wall.

In another part of the same, large and heated facility, Garwood points to paver stones, which students are using to learning to build patios, walkways and outdoor fireplaces. The equipment which they are using to learn how to level the project on completion was also sitting nearby.

Garwood notes this program allows for a lot of creativity, encouraging the students to bring their ideas to their projects.