Plans are underway to construct a new building in the botanical garden, to givegive more space with which the gardening program and visitors can work.
Mills has fundraised and created a rough plan for what the College can build, according to Garden Coordinator Christina McWhorter.
McWhorter explained that the structure will be just under 1,000 square feet and consist of several rooms including a main room for operations, a room for propagating work and community activities, a storage room and an office.
Staff and students are excited about what the new building could mean for the community garden.
“Hopefully, more attention will be drawn to the whole garden,” said freshwoman Marisela Alvarez. “It’s a really cool part of campus, and a lot of people don’t know about it.”
McWhorter explained that the new garden will provide a space for student and community groups to congregate.
At this time all activities must take place either outdoors, in the cramped sheds, or in the greenhouse. The current sheds in the garden can host only two students at a time and the garden programs have outgrown these facilities.
“We’ve made do for a couple of years, but we keep expanding,” McWhorter said.
The garden was meant to be used as a space for lecture and lab support but in the past few years has grown as a community space.
It is currently also used for interactive and educational workshops like the “Gardening as a Meditative Practice Workshop” which McWhorter led as a part of this year’s Mind and Body Awareness Week events.
The garden facilities currently do not meet the needs for the garden programs.
“Right now we try to do a lot of stuff in the greenhouse, but it’ll be cool to have a bigger space to do workshops with people,” said Alvarez.
McWhorter said that the new building “will be a place for classes on campus or for tours of visiting groups.”
Senior Amelia Corbett-Green said she was excited about the new facility. “I think it will really draw people in to come explore gardening because it’s important for people to connect with nature,” she said.
According to McWhorter, the name of the structure will be the Gaia House.
The name refers to the Gaia Theory, which says that the earth and all its organisms evolved together to maintain the planet’s current steady-state condition, according to the Gaia Theory website.
McWhorter said that the name “encapsulates nature and all things green and ecological, plus it’s feminine.”
She expects construction to start within the next few years, but no date has been set.