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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Maintenance in John Brooks Williams forces greenhouse plants to temporarily relocate within science building halls

Magnolia Westfall / Hilltop Views
Plants that are used to living in the St. Edward’s greenhouse are having to adjust to a new and unfamiliar environment. A variety of plant types are now housed throughout the science buildings.

Since returning from winter break, the halls of John Brooks Williams South (JBWS) and John Brooks Williams North (JBWN) have gotten a lot greener with an infiltration of exotic plants. Some of the St. Edward’s greenhouse inhabitants are experiencing temporary relocation due to planned maintenance throughout the JBWN building that would require the air conditioning to be turned off. 

“There were temperature fluctuations happening in the greenhouse, which is bad for the plants, so they took them out,” sophomore biochemistry major Ivan Mounteer said.

During summer 2023, senior medical laboratory major Nich Purcell helped water the plants in the greenhouse. Then, over winter break, he was part of the team who helped move the plants out from the greenhouse. Some of the plants did not survive the move, and cuttings will be taken in an attempt to restore the plant. 

“There are some big trees in the JBWS lobby, and sadly those are not going to survive, so we’re going to take cuttings from the plant to try and keep them,” Purcell said. 

The botanical residents can be seen all throughout the halls of JBWS as well as inside classrooms. With the greenhouse temporarily out of commission, the plants have been finding refuge in hallways and common areas throughout the science buildings. Seeing the newly-placed plants came as a bit of a shock to students.

The Euphorbia lactea, also known as “dragon bones,” a cactus-like succulent plant native to India and South East Asia. St. Edward’s has theirs temporarily living in the halls of JBWS outside Carter Auditorium.

“I was walking to class, and I saw this room just full of plants,” sophomore communication major Daniela Herrea said. “It was so cool to see such huge plants inside of a classroom. I assumed it was for a science related class.”

While the greenhouse might be a foreign place to most students, hiding at the tip top of JBWN, it offers more than just a place to nurture and care for plants. The greenhouse provides students with a controlled environment to study the plants throughout the year. Biology majors are given the opportunity for hands-on learning experience with plant biology, ecology and environmental science as well as plant related research. According to Purcell, there are less than 20 students and staff who have key-access to the greenhouse to keep the plants safe. 

“If you get a chance, stop by JBWN — there’s some really cool cacti on the second floor,” Purcell said. “Most of the other plants have been moved into freshman bio labs.”

It is currently unknown when the greenhouse will be fully back up and running.

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