2009 Award Winners – Urban University Grounds


The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Employees: 51
Budget: $109,000
Acres Maintained: 417
Large, robust landscape beds filled with annuals and perennials can be found almost anywhere you look on the University of Michigan’s campus, highlighting most of the focal points including the Burton Memorial Tower that serves as the landmark symbol for the University and includes 28,000 square feet of display beds. The Lurie Reflecting Pool offers a place to sit and enjoy a cool breeze from the one million square feet of “No Mow” meadows. The simple lawns and majestic trees of the Law Quadrangle invite students to sit and study. These features and much more keep John M. Lawter, associate director of plant buildings and grounds services, and his crew on their toes year round.
California University of Pennsylvania
California, Pennsylvania
Employees: 11
Budget: $800,000
Acres Maintained: 49
This campus, which was “essentially a turf and tree campus” according to Gary Lenkey, assistant director of building trades, has been transformed to a diverse and vibrantly landscaped campus due to the Landscape Master Plan that was started in 2000. Now, the campus landscape boasts areas of large masses of mixed plants, perennials, and hanging baskets that are maintained weekly and changed five times annually and provide a beautiful scene backdrop for students and staff.
The Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C.
Employees: 17
Budget: $1,086,550
Acres Maintained: 197
While the university resides in an urban setting the size and diversity of the grounds create more of a rural feeling as one strolls around the campus. Open vistas of mature tree-lined rolling hills are accented by inviting mixed borders along building entrances. Planted beds with annuals are changed for the seasons and utilize Canna ‘Chocolate Cherry,’ pink, white, and red Begonias and Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata.’ With a devoted landscape crew led by Christopher Vetick, assistant director of grounds, this University offers its visitor a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
University of Texas at Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas
Employees: 17
Budget: $53,040
Acres Maintained: 467
As one of the southernmost locations in the continental U.S., the University of Texas at Brownsville and its 467 acre campus lie adjacent to the Rio Grande on the U.S./Mexico border and includes trees and plantings such as palms, oaks, ash, cedar elms, ebonies, mesquites, acacias, cottonwoods, bottlebrushes, bougainvilleas, Indian hawthorns, oleanders, roses and birds of paradise among others. Serving as a focal point of the campus, two resacas or oxbow lakes lie at the center of the campus, both transected by a wooden walking bridge to facilitate the movement of students and employees. Using creativity and variety has helped the grounds crew, led by Grounds Maintenance Superintendant Larry Neuburg, to create a beautiful campus enjoyed by both the students and the community.