TNCC Awarded $40,000 Grant for Greenhouse Renovation

Published: April 16, 2012

Thomas Nelson Community College has been awarded a $40,000 grant from Dominion Resources to renovate its existing greenhouse on the Hampton campus. Located on the Hastings Hall roof, the greenhouse will benefit students in Biology, Electronics Engineering Technology and Electrical Technology programs. TNCC expects the renovation to be complete by late spring.

“The College is always striving to stay on the forefront of the newest technology in the industry and with the quick rise of the focus on alternative energy, we felt compelled to get involved,” said Tom Pringle, TNCC Instructor and Program Head of Computer-Aided Drafting and Design.

In fall 2011, TNCC students were asked to assess the needs of Biology faculty, gather information from vendors and formulate a design for the project, which includes the installation of six solar panels on the greenhouse’s roof and a new interior lighting system that will allow students to grow and cultivate plants twice during the semester. The College also hopes the renovation will allow for the addition of several new classes in the Electronics Engineering Technology and Electrical Technology curriculums. “Students are gaining experience working on procurement and installation for solar panels. They have enough experience to acquire any entry-level position in solar installation,” said Deborah Lichniak, TNCC Electronics Technology Program Head.

Lichniak said solar-related employment opportunities are in higher demand in several areas of the country and are increasing in Hampton Roads as area companies install solar panels.

Dominion Resources, which comprises Dominion Virginia Power, awarded more than $1 million dollars in grants to community colleges and four-year institutions statewide to support programs in business, skilled craft, engineering, environmental and technical studies. Funding also supports student-led conversation programs. Old Dominion University and Hampton University were also among the recipients in Hampton Roads. Each grant ranges from $10,000 to $50,000. TNCC serves approximately 150 Electronics students. For more information about these programs and others at TNCC, please visit

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