Restoration Project Provides Lessons in Engineering, Renovation and Life Skills

May 16, 2017

Colorado STEM Champion McKinstry recently partnered with students from the engineering program at John F. Kennedy High School (JFK) to design and implement some high-performance modifications to a 51-year-old greenhouse on the roof at JFK.

At the ribbon cutting held on May 16, students and engineers shared their experiences about the transformation that took six months to complete. Student-led tours of the new and improved greenhouse provided a glimpse of the improved space, complete with a drip irrigation system and plant-growing bins that are ready for use.

Students partnered with nine professional engineers from McKinstry to tackle the energy performance contracting project. The scope of work included:

  • Assessment/audit of the greenhouse;
  • Identification of opportunities for improvement;
  • Evaluation of the viability of various improvement measures;
  • Installation of updates to the facility.

The finished project features a solar-powered exhaust fan, rainwater collection system, composting, lighting retrofits, and internet/smart phone accessible controls ­– a far cry from the outdated equipment, broken windows and lack of ventilation in the aging facility. The total value of this project in time and materials donated by McKinstry is estimated at over $37,000. The value of real-life experiences for students, in terms of hard work, collaboration and dedicating themselves to something that benefits others, is immeasurable.

This is the second year that McKinstry has partnered with Denver Public Schools CareerConnect for a project with John F. Kennedy High School, and the fourth year that McKinstry has participated in a STEM Mentor program with Denver Public Schools. Colorado STEM Champions and The Colorado Education Initiative contribute time, talent, and financial resources to implement the Colorado STEM Education Roadmap.