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By Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media
Grounds Management Article Use Policy
Considering all the stakeholders involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes and buildings, sometimes a few misunderstandings among the key players create a better understanding of everyone's unique perspective.
That dynamic certainly has been the experience of Tim Holysz, director of landscape services with Western Michigan University. Years ago, landscape and building projects led to frustration and disconnect among Holysz's department, university architects, and facility professionals.
"Ten years ago, we kind of banged heads, and we continued to bang heads," Holysz says. "Finally, (they) began to listen to us."
Listening has allowed those involved in the design and construction phases to better understand each other's concerns, resulting in a more streamlined process for tackling landscape and building projects on the Kalamazoo, Mich., campus.
"It was a hard-fought battle, but we're there," he says.
Established relationships are important for an organization such as Western Michigan, where construction and landscape projects — small, medium, and large — are common. The 48-person landscape services department is responsible for maintaining 745 acres, as well as tackling various projects outside the realm of day-to-day grounds maintenance. From landscape and hardscape jobs to building renovation and construction projects, the university has established a structure designed to keep everyone on the same page during these projects from start to finish.
"It becomes very routine after a while," Holysz says.
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