Special to the Ledger
When temperatures rise, students take full advantage of the pristine campus grounds. Trimmed trees provide shade for reading and manicured lawns serve as soccer fields and volleyball courts. Spring makes the college come to life.
The maintenance and grounds crew are responsible for keeping the campus in the best shape. Their mission is to provide a “safe, clean, sustainable, and beautiful campus” that complements education and makes the everyday experience of staff and students that much more pleasant.
The 16 staff do all the mowing, chemical applications on turfs and fields, signage, tree care and flower planting, as well as attending to Campus Service requests through the day. Working 10-hour days, they keep the college’s buildings and gardens enjoyable to see and study at.
Part of the job of the groundskeepers is to attend to animal mishaps that happen on or around campus. This can be removing animals, dead or alive, and cleaning up animal waste that is left behind.
Spaulding has had to remove a snake that had made it’s way into a building on campus. However, he says one of his worst jobs is when he has to pick up dead skunks.
“They like to use the storm sewers as kind of a through-way, so they’ll hop up as you’re plowing,” Spaulding said. “Then when it thaws out you’ll find them there.”
When winter comes, the department is also in charge of plowing, salting and all other forms of snow removal to keep students and faculty safe.
“Winter storms make for the workers’ busiest days,” Spaulding said. “It’s tough sometimes, it gets pretty busy, when they’re trying to keep classes open… and they decide to close it at some point. You have to try and get everybody out of here and keep it clean. We’re all involved in that.”
Mike Moloney is Lead Groundskeeper at the college. In the first few hours of his day, he cleans up trash, leaves, or does anything urgent around campus. After that, he’s off to tend the flowers, trees and fields. Moloney’s 6 a.m. starting time has its perks, however.
“People take this for granted, but I get to see every sunrise,” Moloney said.
For the Grounds department, student requests and concerns are a priority.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Spaulding said. “And, yeah, there’s going to be some difficult requests, but we try to meet them and, if we can’t, then we try to find a compromise to make things work.”