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Riverbend Aquaponics Project Advances at Planning Commission

The school district also obtained approval for a renovation plan.

Lower Merion's Planning Commission on Monday night voted to expedite a plan to establish an aquaponics greenhouse at the Riverbend Environmental Education Center in Gladwyne.

As Patch originally reported in October, Riverbend intends to collaborate with Veteran Community Farms to find and train military veterans to tend to 4,500 square feet of plants and fish living in symbiosis.

The project also would include a composting bathroom, a gravel path and a rain garden.

The commission granted a waiver of the land development plan process, which township staff endorse for nonprofit entities in certain cases, said assistant building and planning director Chris Leswing.

Riverbend executive director Laurie Bachman said the plan would next face Board of Commissioners approval at the Building and Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Also at the Planning Commission meeting, the commission endorsed Lower Merion School District's plans to expand Gladwyne Elementary School and install temporary modular classrooms during construction.

Modular installation would begin this summer, with the permanent classrooms meant to be finished in time for the 2013-14 school year.

Gladwyne ES is one of four buildings, out of 10 in the district, that school administration officials hope to expand in response to a recent study projecting increased enrollment.

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