Landscape Projects

Project Requests and Activity at the Gibbs House

Hoop House Project Request      Completed 6.21.14

service request# 118589  project request# P14021

Project Details:          (2) 30’x48’  Hoop Houses

After a thorough review of options including best practice research and interviews with multiple hoop house owners and campus farms, we settled on two 30’ x 48’ hoop houses for the East side of the Gibbs House site. Composting, integrated pest management research, annual and perennial food production, and aquaponics research will be going on throughout the year in these hoop houses. The Gibbs House property has been staked (white flags) to outline the footprint of the hoop houses. The site plan and renderings (included) illustrate the placement and perspective details of the end wall and interior ribbing structures.

Project Cost:        budget: $16,000

Our budgeted expense for two hoop houses is $16,000. This budget was derived from conversations with other hoop house owners and campus farms.

Project cost includes all materials and installation of the hoop houses. To reduce project costs and foster experiential learning with its clients, Nifty Hoops typically erects the hoop houses with local volunteers in a “barn raising” experience. The set-up of two greenhouses can be done in one long day or over the course of two days depending on our preference and schedule and The Office for Sustainability is prepared to supply all volunteers for this process.

Safety Record

The majority of Nifty Hoops installations include volunteer labor. Owner and founder Jeff McCabe started his company in September of 2011. Jeff is proud of his perfect safety record. The hoop houses are laser cut and pre-fabricated prior to shipping to the installation site where they are installed similar to an erector set. All of the pieces couple together and there are no saws on site. Installation generally takes about 12 people who first assemble the bows, crowns, girts, and cross braces before assembly. Once the structure is up, the plastic sheeting is draped and secured.

Nifty Hoops:  Owner Jeff McCabe
Phone: 734-845-0079  


Nifty Hoops is the preferred vendor for the Gibbs House Permaculture Development Plan. The preference for this company is based on the quality of the product they deliver and the service they provide. Nifty Hoops is a Michigan company based out of Ann Arbor that produces 4-season food structures for our local climate zone. Their customer service is unique in that they offer a barn-raising style installation that includes professional oversight to make sure the job is done safely, efficiently, and correctly while offering opportunities for volunteer participants to help and learn from the experience. All materials are prefabricated to minimize chance of risk or unnecessary delay on the job site. This educational model is consistent with the work ethic we want to instill at the Gibbs House site overall. These custom hoop houses are sure to be installed correctly the first time without creating frustrating delays.

About the Manufacturer/Installer

Nifty Hoops has manufactured and installed hoop house structures for other higher education institutions and offers the unique option of community and student involvement in the installation process. The company laser cuts all of their structural materials to order in Ann Arbor, MI. A few examples are listed on the front page of this document.


We have spoken to hoop house and green house owners who have Nifty Hoops and those who have used other types of hoop houses. The consensus from our interactions is that hoop house structures usually require professional assistance to properly install. Chris Jackson, WMU’s Finch Greenhouse Manager, believes Nifty Hoops to be the most cost and time effective option for our requirements. Since other greenhouse production companies do not provide installation, we would have to hire outside professionals who install the hoop houses and thus incur additional costs.


Perimeter Fence Proposal    Project Initiated 6.23.14  ONGOING

 service request # 118587  project request # 140120


Project Details

A pest-deterrent fence will be installed on the East and West side of the Gibbs Property. The design for the fence, which was finalized after best-practice review and conversations with Bob Miller, Tim Holysz, Dave Dakin, and Tim Kellog, is intended to keep pests from entering the property while not creating a visual obstruction of the property from the adjacent road and surrounding community. The 48” wire mesh fencing material will be buried 6” below grade and approximately 42” above grade to deter smaller animals such as rabbits and other small mammalian pests. Several high-tensile wire lines will be extended up to 8’ in height above to deter any deer from jumping over the fence into our research space. See figure 1 as a visual reference for the design of the fence and figure 2 for the whole site design at the Gibbs House.

Click on image to enlarge


Project Materials Cost: 

The total projected cost for fence materials is based on a total estimate of 1,507 linear feet of fencing. Fence materials from local retailers would cost $4.50 per linear foot.  The East and West side breakdown of materials cost is broken down in tables B and C. 


East Side Materials Cost:    $3,671

West Side Materials Cost:   $4,574


Total Cost for both sides:    $8,245


Gibbs Tree Removal Project Request      COMPLETED  6.17.14

service request# 119028  project request P140126

Project Details

We require the removal of several trees on the Parkview boulevard East of the Gibbs House. Contracted services are required for these trees because they are entangled in power lines or they are large enough diameter that we believe they would be best handled by an outside contractor or WMU Landscape Services. We have painted (in pink) approximately 18 trees that have been identified for removal per this project request. We do not require removal of any tree limbs, stumps, or branches from the property. We will be incorporating the felled trees and brush into our landscape plan and will be grinding stumps into chips for use on site.


We have engaged in several discussions with University administrators and community members about our proposed plan. We have consulted onsite with WMU Professor of Biological Sciences Todd Barkman, Natural Areas and Preserves Manager Steve Keto, and many others who have attended our public design charrette February 21st at the Office for Sustainability. Steve, Todd, and others have confirmed on site that we are not removing any native or revered trees. Nearly all of the trees along Parkview, with the exception of a few Chinese Elms, are Siberian Elm's. We did find a Basswood and an American Elm that we are planning on keeping and maintaining. We worked with OCBA Landscape Architects to develop and present our plan to the WMU administration and our design plans have subsequently been approved by Bob Miller, Dave Dakin, Tim Kellog, the Parkview Hills Neighborhood Association, among others.

The city of Kalamazoo has approved our plan to develop within the right of way (ROW) of Parkview and the Kalamazoo Tree Committee has endorsed our plan to remove the specified trees along the NE property line East of the Gibbs House along Parkview Avenue. 

Project Cost

Our budget for this work request is $3,000.  Our estimated cost for this project request is $2,400. Given our estimates and advice from arborist friends we hope that this budget will be sufficient including a 20% contingency.

Tree Map

The trees highlighted in red have been selected for removal from the Gibbs Site. The trees along Parkview on the East end of the property are all touching power lines so this tree removal service will be contracted by company outside WMU. The rest of the trees in red throughout the property will most likely be removed by Landscape Services. 

 Download PDF MAP


Gibbs House Property Utility Requirements        Waiting for Scheduling and Refining Details

Updated: 4/3/14 

Service request# 117520  Project request#140091

Electrical Installations and Requirements 

We are requesting electrical service for our two (2) 30’x48’ hoop house structures to be raised in the spring of 2014. Each of the hoop houses will require one (1), 120 volt, 20 amp outlet. Additionally, each hoop house will need to be able to handle: 

- (2) 45” end-wall louvers* with motors (115 v, .25 amp) 

- A small inflation blower fan** (115 v, .25 amp) 

* - duct_catalog&refno=482#Brochure-tab 

** -;ft_greenhouse_equipment-ft_gr... covering;pg109842_109842.html


Plumbing Requirements for the East and West Field 

All of the water bibs will require the standard 10 GPM (or greater) flow rate to accommodate 3/4” garden hoses running <100’. Please see the utility map shown on the second page for specific locations of each bib. The desired location of each bib and electrical outlet will be marked with blue (water) and red (electric) flags by Wednesday April 9th to determine the exact location of each utility. 

East Field: 

There  will be one (1) bib inside of each hoop house structure and three (3) bibs spread around the east field. 

West Field: 

The west side of the property will require two (2) bibs to be installed for use to irrigate the perennial crops. 




West Drive Road Removal

The highlighted (driveway) area equals 6,300 square feet and if we were able to have 18" depth (recommended) excavated the total material would be 350 yards. By replacing this area with compost, fill, and dirt, this will help us establish a vibrant food forest resource for WMU.