Building a new Ag Learning Center is the goal for FFA students at Franklin Community High School. In fact, the Franklin FFA is looking to put up not one, but two new student ag buildings.
“A big purpose for this facility is education and creating those hands-on experiences and getting kids really excited about agriculture,” says Alicia Geesey, ag science teacher and FFA advisor at Franklin Community High School.
Geesey and FFA sponsor Dan Batta are looking to build that facility just north of the high school.
“There are nine acres that we have started row crop farming and gardening and then we’ve slowly been cooking up some plans for a potential building on the site and so it’s kind of starting to come into fruition,” says Geesey.
The current plans for facility would have two new buildings with a total of more than 7,200 square feet. Each of those buildings would serve a different purpose.
“One being more of like a barn type-of construction that would house livestock and feed and equipment. The second building is more of like a classroom lab where livestock would be able to come into the classroom where the kids would all have equal access and opportunity to get their hands on those animals,” according to Geesey.
That second classroom building would allow students to process vegetables.
“We have a two-acre garden, and we donate a lot of that produce to our local food pantries and then we also try to serve a lot of that produce to our cafeteria. The one thing we don’t have is a place to wash and sanitize and prep all of those veggies before they go out, so we end up wasting a lot of those vegetables right now,” says Geesey.
The total estimated cost for those buildings is between $1.5 million and $2 million. Geesey says she’s not asking for taxpayers in the school district to pay for it. She says they plan to hold fundraisers to bring it all together.
“It is not cheap, so it is going to be a big fundraising effort, but we have a lot of supporters right now and I’m a very optimistic person and so I do think it can happen.”
Geesey says the plan is to have the Ag Learning Center built over the next five years, with a goal of helping students not just in Franklin and Johnson County, but across south-central Indiana.
“One of my goals as an ag teacher here in Indiana is to just provide that experience to kids and hope that they can find their niche in agriculture and become leaders in the industry.”
For more information on donating to the Franklin FFA to help fund their ag learning center, contact Alicia Geesey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s report on the goal of building a new ag learning facility next to Franklin Community High School in Johnson County.