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New rooftop greenhouse funded by Loyola's Faith in the Future campaign unveiled

November 11, 2014

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People with glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but biology students and professors should grow plants in theirs. Thanks to a generous donation from the Azby Fund as part of Loyola University New Orleans' $100 million Faith in the Future campaign, the university has a new state-of-the-art greenhouse to benefit students and faculty of the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences. The local philanthropic foundation has committed $250,000 to the project.

Begun in March and still undergoing improvements, the 3,000-square-foot Azby Fund Greenhouse is located atop the recently renovated Monroe Hall on the main campus. Open to both students and faculty, the rooftop greenhouse will provide a crucial resource for teaching and research in biological, botanical and environmental sciences.

"It's going to significantly increase our ability to conduct research and provide teaching experiences in the areas of biology and ecology," said Loyola biology professor Paul Barnes, Ph.D. "Classes will be able to conduct experiments using plants as part of their research. Faculty will be able to do experiments as part of their classes."

Barnes, the John H. Mullahy, S.J. endowed chair in environmental biology, said there are several research projects underway at the site with more expected in the spring.

Located on the seventh floor roof of Monroe Hall, the Azby Fund Greenhouse includes two 23-by-18 foot glass growing rooms. Combined, they provide 828 square feet of growing room. There also is a 500-square-foot research deck, a 900-square-foot storage building, and a 650-square-foot environmental growth chamber room, which currently contains two climate-controlled plant growth chambers.

Formed in 1969 by Herbert Harvey Jr., the Azby Fund is a nonprofit family foundation which supports community projects in the greater New Orleans area and which has been a generous donor to Loyola in the past. The Azby Fund has committed $250,000 to the construction of the greenhouse site as part of the overall renovation to the 45-year-old Monroe Hall. The project will add an additional 114,000 square feet to the building, improving classroom and meeting space.

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