Bartlett Greenhouse

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The Biology Greenhouse

Central Bay

The greenhouse holds plants for demonstrations, supports student-faculty research, and is used by students in a variety of classes whenever it is necessary to grow plants. The facility is located on the roof of the Rickey Science Center and has a sweeping view of Marietta and the Ohio River Valley.  There are three rooms - a tropical room,  a large central bay for general use, and a desert room.




The tropical room holds several beds containing bananas, papayas, mangroves and other tropical trees and plants (as well as small aquatic areas).

Bananas growing in Tropical Room



The central bay is set for a temperate environment (without the frost!) and contains a large cycad (over 20 years old), a bed with two in-ground ponds for turtles and fish, and bench area for demonstration plants and research space.  The ponds are connected to a biofilter which absorbs and recycles wastes from the aquatic organisms and itself serves as a habitat for a number of aquatic plants. In addition to the aquatic animals (including 3 species of turtles), a number of small reptile and amphibian species also make the greenhouse home and help to control pests.

Central Bay During Renovation

The desert room is the smallest of the 3 bays and is used to hold desert plants.  In addition, beds on the ground serve as habitat for large African Spurred Tortoises.

The greenhouse has recently been renovated for the first time since its construction in 1972 as part of the Bartlett Biology Building.   

The renovation was part of the overall renovation of the Bartlett Biology Building as part of the incorporation of that building into the new Rickey Science Center, made possible by the generosity of Dave Rickey and a number of other supporters of the college.

The renovation, planned and spearheaded by Dr. David Brown, consisted of a complete restoration of the vent system, sealing and painting of the greenhouse floor, removal of the old planting beds (including moving the 15 foot tall cycad from the tropical to the temperate bay), rearrangement of the plant benches, and extensive repainting.

Installation of Turtle Habitat


  In addition, an automated control system was installed.  This system, which included for the first time an evaporative cooling system to limit summer temperatures, automatically opens and closes the roofline and side vents and activates fans and heating and cooling units as needed.  Each bay has its own heating and cooling system and can be controlled independently of the other two bays.

  The Marietta College Physical Plant did many of the renovations and also ran new gas lines to the greenhouse so that the old hot-water heating system could be replaced with a more reliable natural gas based system.  In addition, Physical Plant  connected the electrical system for the heating system and the automated control system to the standby generator for the Rickey Science Center, thus insuring that heat will be maintained in the even of a wintertime power outage.  The Marietta College IT Department ran network and phone cables so that the system can be monitored remotely by the Biology Faculty, and a phone link will notify Campus Police in the event of any problems in the space.


More photos to come as the plantings fill in!

Removal of old Cycad bed


Cycad in its new location



Arrangements to tour the greenhouse can be made by contacting the departmental secretary at 740-376-4750