Landscaping, maintenance team keeps campus clean

A group of 18 individuals helps to keep K-State's Manhattan campus green, clean and free of debris. The cherry blossom treen in front of Hale Library is one of many different greeneries that have been placed and groomed on campus. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Thousands of students stroll past the measured lawns and thousands of trees that dot the Kansas State campus landscape every day without a second thought. An 18-person crews travels to every green space on campus everyday in order to maintain a standard of uniformity and cleanliness.

Joe Myers, grounds maintenance supervisor, has been working on the team for over 24 years. He explained exactly what his team does for the campus.

Myers said the team members are mostly from Manhattan, and generally work eight-hour shifts that start as early as 6 a.m. They deal with any work that arises.

“We handle lawn care, maintaining irrigation systems, small installation jobs, snow removal and taking care of all the trees on campus,” Myers said. “On last count, there’s somewhere around 5,000 trees around campus.”

Myers said while the campus is their main focus, they sometimes work off campus on the Recreation Center fields, the IGP Institute, the Large Animal Research Center, parts of the local airport and the Innovation Center.

“Most [students] are pretty respectful, and pretty kind to those taking care of the grounds,” Myers said. “They’re pretty good about litter, there’s plenty of litter generated especially in the parking lots. Compared to other universities, the folks are pretty considerate.”

Another member of the maintenance and landscaping team is Dan Marshall, a carpenter who travels across campus daily to mend and repair broken furniture, lawn benches, doors and other often-broken items.

Marshall has worked at K-State for 25 years and uses a daily work order list to find out what he’s been requested to repair. He explained that residence halls have their own repair system, and that he takes care of stuff right here on campus where the classes take place.

The maintenance work is by no means easy.

Silvia Cortez, a newly hired custodian, has been working here at K-State for a total of four weeks. She takes care of Dole Hall, the shops around campus and Wildcat Landing, making sure the trash is picked up on a regular basis.

“I collect one dumpster full of garbage per building,” Cortez said.

For her training period, she walked about 10 miles per day walking and cleaning buildings around campus.