As the end of winter nears, Facilities works to liven up campus for spring

Vibrant pink and purple flowers begin to blossom in front of Hale Library after a long, cold winter. The Division of Facilities continues with the upkeep and clean up of current plant beds around campus. (File photo by Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

While spring hasn’t quite sprung in Manhattan, campus is preparing for the change of the seasons. The Division of Facilities continues with the upkeep and cleanup of campus plant beds.

The first beds on campus to get some attention are the ones near the Berney Family Welcome Center, the K-State Student Union and the Kansas State University gates.

Landscape Services superintendent Brett Robinson says the first step will be to topdress the beds with dark mulch in lieu of the older cedar mulch currently used on campus. The complete switch will require about 80 yards worth of mulch, Robinson said.

The crew behind the process is made up of 20 people. In addition to Robinson, there is an arborist, irrigation specialists, landscapers and people who mow and weedeat.

“I just want to thank the crew and the staff I have,” Robinson said. “They do a lot of work on campus.”

Casey Lauer, assistant vice president of Engineering, Utilities and Acquaintance, said the Division of Facilities also brought in a dedicated arborist — a new position for Kansas State. Lauer said the main job for the arborist is to maintain the health and quality of the trees, which are huge asset to the university.

As graduation nears, workers will add annual pansies to the beds. Robinson said Landscape Services looks for pansies that are purple and white.

“We really want to make those gates shine,” Robinson said.

A bulk of the campus plant supply with be sourced from local nurseries and annuals can come from K-State greenhouses.

Robinson said he likes to try something new with the bed designs and experiment with different annuals each year.

Money for landscaping comes from the state general fund, which covers most crew positions, equipment and the plants that are used. Lauer said the budget works with the campus master plan and the strategic plan. It’s all part of a plan to look for areas where money can be allocated to help with expansion and updates.

“We are doing the best we can with what we have,” Lauer said. “We’re not resourced incredibly different than other Big 12 schools or peers.”