Puget Sound Honored for its Grounds Management Excellence

November 8, 2013

 The handsome, well-kept campus is awarded a 2013 Green Star

— Almost everyone at Puget Sound has had the experience. You arrive early on a fall morning and the campus is dazzling with color. The first two people you meet are hard at work. A groundskeeper waves as she passes in an electric car stacked with rakes. A young man with a leaf blower smiles and steps back to let you by. Ahhh …. This is the “inspiring” campus that students rave about.

This school year the creation of these striking seasonal landscapes has been recognized by the national Professional Grounds Management Society. In late October Puget Sound received an Honor Award in the society’s 2013 Green Star Awards competition.

Puget Sound received the award for exceptional grounds maintenance in the Urban University category. Manager of Grounds Joe Kovolyan, representing Puget Sound, and other winning teams were presented with their awards at the society’s 2013 awards dinner, held October 25 in conjunction with the School of Grounds Management & GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky.

“Puget Sound’s beautiful campus grounds have long been a matter of pride to those who work and study here, and a source of admiration from visitors,” said Bob Kief, associate vice president for facilities services. “We have some very creative and hardworking grounds maintenance crew members to thank for this, and on their behalf, our department is proud to receive this national recognition.”

At Puget Sound a 10-person crew, assisted by student workers, cares for the 97-acre campus. The crew makes plans one year in advance in order to have just the right array of color at events scheduled in the school year ahead. Spring color on campus features bulbs, annuals, and spring-blooming plants. Raised beds and planting containers allow the crew members the flexibility to create color accents in areas where it is difficult to establish flower beds.

The tree canopy, including dozens of towering Douglas Firs, is undoubtedly one of the features that make the campus special. To keep it that way, plans for tree replacements look ahead 50 years, taking into account the species that will be needed and planting locations. The ivy that drapes many of Puget Sound’s Tudor Gothic buildings is pruned twice a year, requiring a 60-foot lift to perform the task.   

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complimenting other national award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction. Overall in 2013 PGMS presented four Grand Awards, its highest honor, as well as 22 Honor Awards and seven Merit Awards in 11 categories of competition.

The Professional Grounds Management Society, founded in 1911, is an individual membership society of grounds professionals dedicated to advancing the profession through education and professional development. Further information is available at www.pgms.org.

For a list of all PGMS award winners visit: http://pgms.org/2013-green-star-award-winners/

Photos on page: Top right: Joe Kovolyan, manager of grounds at Puget Sound, accepts the Green Star Award from PGMS Past President John Van Etten at the awards dinner in Kentucky; Above left: Mount Rainer and Jones Circle; Above right: Music building and walkways.

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