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Grounds Crew Helps Campus Give Visitors Good First Impression

Perhaps it is only coincidence that the president of Friends University in Wichita, Kan., is named Green. But it certainly is fitting, considering Dr. Biff Green’s commitment to a lush, manicured, welcoming campus at the school.



Perhaps it is only coincidence that the president of Friends University in Wichita, Kan., is named Green. But it certainly is fitting, considering Dr. Biff Green’s commitment to a lush, manicured, welcoming campus at the school.

Mark Furry, Friends’ director of landscaping, is in charge of maintaining the 40-acre campus. Three members of his crew spend six hours a day, three days a week mowing and manicuring the turf. His department keeps a fleet of five 700 series FrontMount mowers from The Grasshopper Co. Furry chooses the brand for its quality cut, maneuverability, operator comfort and low maintenance.

The 72-inch and 61-inch mowing decks allow the crew to stripe lawns, creating a striking effect when viewed from the upper floors of the historic Davis Administration Building. Furry says the crew, which mulches clippings, alters its mowing patterns 45 degrees with each mowing, leaving a pattern in the grass.

The Grasshopper True ZeroTurn mowers allow maneuverability around the many trees and obstacles and help speed completion of the mowing job. The FrontMount mowing deck provides access under low pine trees that dot the campus.

To keep the campus looking green, regular irrigation is necessary. Friends’ fleet of Grasshopper mowers have a light footprint that Furry says enable his crew to mow grass on soggier ground than other machines their size without tearing up the lawn.

Furry has used other mowing equipment but likes the smooth ride and comfort of the Grasshoppers that allow his crew “to be on that long without getting worn out and beat up,” he says. His original decision to purchase the mowers was based partially on that comfort.

Throughout the 13 mowing seasons at Friends during which Furry has used Grasshopper mowers, the equipment has provided consistent reliability and always been ready when needed.

During winter, Furry and his crew employ the True ZeroTurn blade attachments to help remove snow on campus sidewalks and parking lots.

The school’s commitment to a lush, manicured campus has been noticed. Furry says numerous people, many who regularly travel to college campuses, have told him that Friends University has the nicest looking campus in the Midwest. His department’s attention to detail also has played a role in the decision of prospective students.

As one student told Friends’ president Green, “I knew if someone was taking good care of the campus, they’d take good care of me.”


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