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Facility Maintenance Decisions
Michigan State University: Grounded in Service PAGE Landscape Services Department Acts as On-Campus Contractor Building Construction or Renovations Include Landscape Plan Facility, Grounds Managers Join Forces for Renovation Project Consider Climate, Disease Resistance When Specifying Plants Supervisors, Teams Maintain Key Landscape, Hardscape Items

Facility, Grounds Managers Join Forces for Renovation Project

By Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media Grounds Management   Article Use Policy

To illustrate the importance of the facilities and landscape folks working together, Dobbs points to the Snyder/Phillips renovation completed on the Northeast section of campus in fall 2007. The university demolished the middle section connecting the two residence halls, an area that housed dining services and kitchens.

The department installed sidewalks, volleyball courts, and the landscapes around the residence halls, but tree preservation also was crucial. The campus arborist, Paul Swartz, worked with the contractors to ensure construction would not harm the trees.

"(Swartz) set up a training program that each of the contractors had to go through, and they received a sticker on their helmet saying they've gone through the training," Dobbs says. "They were very conscious about preserving the tree roots and the tree branches. If there was an issue, they immediately called him, and he brought his crew up there to handle all the tree issues."

Landscape Services is working with Campus Planning & Administration and Engineering and Architectural Services to develop a landscape master plan that identifies the different themes featured on campus. Because the campus is so large, the university has organized landscapes and hardscape items by specific themes. For example, if crews replace light fixtures on the northern part of campus, which is a historic area, they need to use copper-type lantern systems that reflect the historic theme.

"We have the original landscape plans for that part of campus, and we've tried to stay within those original landscape plans as much as possible to try to keep the historical flavor of that area," Dobbs says.

posted on 11/9/2009