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Driven to be Outdoors: Grounds Team Loves to Work in All Types of Weather

The University employs four full-time grounds workers, but during the summer that number doubles (or even triples) as MVNU hires student workers to help keep the 327-acre campus looking its best.

Besides mowing grass and planting flowers, the grounds crew is in charge of trimming trees and shrubs and maintaining all of the University lawn equipment.

Grounds employees use and maintain six commercial mowers, three tractors, a backhoe, a skid steer and about 12 other large pieces of equipment plus other smaller items like weedeaters and leafblowers.

Ben Cook, assistant to the director of Facility Services, said the crew spends a lot of hours maintaining equipment. Maintenance is vital to extending the life of the machinery, he said. The grounds team works under the umbrella of Facilities Services.

In the winter, the grounds crew clears and maintains the sidewalks and roads of the University. During snowy nights, the team may work 16-hour days to ensure the safety of students and faculty going to class and work. No one knows the exact number, but one employee estimated they clear up to 11 miles of sidewalks on campus.

For the most part, the grounds crew enjoys being outside no matter the temperature. Bill Fanning, head of the grounds department, said his team is a dedicated and enthusiastic group who love their jobs in all seasons and all types of weather.

To find people who are “driven to be outdoors every day is interesting,” Fanning said.

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