Weather delays campus beautification process

By Gus Bode

As he picked up scattered trash around campus Monday, Bruce Ridgeway said cleanup efforts on campus are year-round and it is important to pay attention to detail as the semester ends.

Ridgeway, a Physical Plant employee, said he is assigned to the upkeep of Thompson Point and the surrounding area. He said he mows the grass, picks up trash and plants flowers on campus.

“We want campus to look thriving for graduation,” Ridgeway said. “Ultimately, we are here for the students and of course when the students’ families come down, we want them to see the beauty of campus.”


He said cleanup after the April 19 storm and continuous rainfall backed up work for the grounds crew, which made it difficult to catch up on beautification before commencement ceremonies  Friday and Saturday.

“We had a lot of rain to deal with, and limbs and trees were down everywhere from the last storm so it is taxing on us,” Ridgeway said.

Dave Tippy, assistant grounds superintendent at the Physical Plant, said almost every tree on campus lost branches after the April storms.

Workers have even struggled to keep the grass mowed because it has been wet, said Phil Gatton, director of Plant and Service Operations.

Brad Dillard, associate director of facilities at the Physical Plant, said mowing should have started weeks ago with the beginning of the spring season, but it was pushed back.

“We are slowly but surely in the process of catching up,” he said. “We will have anywhere between 12 and 15 mowers running all day, every day at any time this week.”

Dillard said grounds workers are in the process of mowing, trimming and mulching flowerbeds around campus for not only the ceremonies but also for prospective students. He said the Physical Plant redirected the work and resources from tasks such as moving furniture to beautification, so there won’t be much additional work.


Dillard said additional costs depend on overtime work.

“At this point, we don’t anticipate overtime to occur,” he said. “The rain stopped soon enough and we think we are going to be able to get all of the work done on schedule.”

Matt Denny and Gwayne Williams, both ironworkers for the Physical Plant, hung banners on light posts Monday around campus, some of which had to be replaced after strong winds ripped them off.

They said they were scheduled to do the work and will not have to work overtime.

Sarah Schneider can be reached at [email protected]       or 536-3311 ext. 255.