The First and Largest Aquaponic Training Center in the State of Ohio - In Downtown Youngstown!


This is Ohio's First Career and Technical School (Choffin) which has established an Aquaponics Institute. 

Front/Side View of the new Choffin Aquaponics Institute with the City of Youngstown's Downtown rising behind it.


This past summer (2012) an unused horticulture building was converted and refurbished into a new Aquaponics center for the Youngstown City School District. The work was done by students, teachers and volunteers. 

The Choffin Career and Technical Center Campus houses the new Institute.

Ralph Zerbonia of Aquaponitech was the System Architect and Project Manager. Ralph is a member of the Aquaculture & Aquaponics Group on LocalFoodCleveland. He is also a member here on the Aquaponic Gardening Community.

Rear View of the Institute from Youngstown, Ohio's downtown.

The two bay greenhouse boasts 8600 sq. ft of floor space with carpentry built growbeds lined with food safe Dura-Skrim R20WWK . 

One of the growbeds constructed by the students and teachers of the Choffin Career & Technical Center.


The 1st Floor Fish room contains 5 reinforced concrete block Dura-Skrim R20WWK lined fish tanks each 900 gallons for a total of 4500 gallons of capacity. There is a loading area adjacent to the tanks.

Below is 4 of the tanks before outfitting with the liner and equipment.


And below is one of the tanks after outfitting as Teacher Sarah Wilhelm puts in the first group of baby Tilapia!


A full Classroom, Computer room and teachers office is accompanied by loading dock/areas on both the lower and greenhouse floors.

A frazzled Ralph Zerbonia with the Aquaponic Classroom under construction behind him, as they rush to be ready for the September 2012 first class of students!

Over 15 students made up the first class in the new Aquaponics Institute. The Institute offers a two year program where students come for a half day during the school year, spending the other half in their home high school.

The Choffin Aquaponics Institute was established under Superintendent Connie Hathorne by his Assistant Superintendent Douglas Hiscox. 

Together with the Director of Choffin, Joe Meranto and System Architect/Project Manager Ralph Zerbonia it was fully deployed for the start of classes in September 2012. 

It took 4 months to renovate and refurbish the dormant building to make it ready for students and aquaponic operations. While not yet fully equipped and outfitted, it is anticipated that it will be completed by school year 2015 using a phased approach.

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Further information on the Choffin Aquaponics Institute can be obtained by calling or writing Ralph Zerbonia, Aquaponitech at  Ralph@UniverseCentral.com     330-720-4525

Tags: Aquaponics, Design, Ohio, Youngstown, build, careers, training

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