DENVER, Colo. (June 28, 2023) – PCL Construction celebrated the construction completion of Denver Public School’s (DPS) Glenbrook Greenhouse – a $4.5 million, 28,000 square foot greenhouse spanning four acres on the southwestern tip of the City and County of Denver. The greenhouse can hold up to 3,500 plants with a warehouse area to accommodate shipping of vegetables to DPS’ over 200 schools serving more than 90,000 students.
With PCL and DPS having a long-standing relationship of over 35 years, PCL was honored to help support this “farm to cafeteria” project. The firm was initially awarded this project in 2018, and after bond approval, managed it through design and preconstruction during the pandemic. The fast-tracked project timeline proved challenging but was achieved successfully despite uncertainties in the marketplace and procurement.
“Seeing this highly innovative and one-of-a-kind project come to fruition is rewarding for PCL and the entire project team. Being a part of the bigger picture in providing students with fresh produce and nutritional value is why we partnered with DPS on building this greenhouse,” said Ryan Schmidt, PCL Construction’s Denver district manager.
Starting with an underdeveloped plot of land, PCL repurposed the property into a commercial greenhouse site with state-of-the-art Controlled Environment Agriculture technology. DPS can now grow local produce and feed its own student population with healthy fruits and vegetables on a much greater scale. This initiative to provide healthier food for DPS students is expected to contribute to higher academic success and lower the health-food disparity between lower-income and higher-income children that attend DPS schools.
“The impact this project will have on the Denver Public Schools’ community and its students is ever lasting. Having the ability to provide locally grown vegetables from DPS’ very own greenhouse at our schools will help bridge the health inequality gap and provide a greater sense of nutrition for children,” said Theresa Hafner, executive director of enterprise management with DPS.
Since officially opening, the greenhouse is providing several vibrant fruits and vegetables to schools, including fresh cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, snacking peppers, and strawberries. Additionally, it has its own pollinators, using bumble bees to pollinate plants inside to improve crop quality, increase yield and reduce labor.
DPS has a vision to utilize the greenhouse to create educational programming for students interested in agricultural careers through pathway programs. It’s an encourager for students to better understand STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) by giving them a tangible example of scientific processes while providing them with a platform to experiment with growing plants.
About PCL Construction
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in more than 30 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $6 billion USD, making PCL one of the largest contracting organizations in North America. Watch us build at www.pcl.com.
About Denver Public Schools
Committed to sustainability, Denver Public Schools is focused on building a system that’s designed to help every student thrive. In the last ten years, DPS has experienced unprecedented growth and an expansion of programs, creating healthy learning and working environments that connect students and staff with the wonder of nature and resource conservation. To learn more, visit https://www.dpsk12.org/.