LHS Biotech Lab preps for January opening

LHS Biotech Lab preps for January opening
Posted on 12/19/2017

Brand-new beakers sit ready for use all across the countertops at Lynden High School’s Biotech Lab. Slated for an opening in January, the new lab came together after years of planning and a jumpstart from community donations.

As Lynden Schools officials and some of those involved in making the biotech lab—located next to the greenhouse on the south side of the LHS campus—a reality gathered for a walk-through of the space before winter break, a special thank you was given to Jim and Lorraine Top, who donated $100,000 to the effort.

The new 1,250-square-foot state-of-the-art biotech facility puts a focus on teaching real-world STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum that will lead to filling local and national jobs in everything from agriculture to health to environmental science.

“STEM teaching is incorporated into all our teaching and this will increase STEM skills dramatically,” says Ladd Shumway, longtime Lynden teacher. The new space combines a classroom with multiple lab spaces, including a grow room. “Lynden prides itself in being a leader and this is a top-notch facility,” Shumway says.

Educators Shumway, Tammy Brandvold, John Grubbs and Kent Victor were all part of the process to design a space that had been in the planning since 2010. It wasn’t until the $100,000 donation from the Tops that the project really took off.

“I will never forget what (Shumway’s) eyes did when I said we were interested in doing this,” Lorraine said at the December event.

“Usually when people talk about a donation, they are talking about $500 or $1,000,” Shumway says, “not in the $100,000 range.” A number of key community members and businesses further donated to the effort, both in terms of constructing the building and filling it with needed supplies. The 24 community members that make up LHS’ Agricultural Advisory Committee proved integral in the planning.

When students move into the space in January, expect to see animal physiology, horticulture and biotech classes fill the building—and that is just to start. Shumway says the lab will allow the high school to diversify the curriculum to match the abilities of the lab.

A dedication and community open house is set for 3 p.m. on April 19.