Under the supervision of Toby Rose, the Grounds Department maintains Pacific's beautiful 175 acre Stockton campus year round. The 24 person staff includes a Lead Grounds Worker, Grounds Keepers, Irrigation Specialists, Equipment Operators and a mechanic.
Our department is responsible for planter bed maintenance and installation, tree care and planting, lawn care including the athletic fields, irrigation systems, litter and outdoor debris pickup, sidewalk and street cleaning, flood prevention, and general maintenance of Pacific's vehicle fleet. During new construction we also assist and advise on new landscape design.
We take pride in the appearance of the University and welcome any questions regarding the campus grounds or our department. If you should see a broken sprinkler head or notice anything that may be of immediate concern, please feel free to contact Support Services at 946-2541. For requests such as altering sprinkler schedules or marking fields for events, fallen tree branches or maintenance of University vehicles and carts, please submit your request through our FAMIS program and we will be happy to provide an estimate, schedule an appointment or attend to the need in a timely manner.
Policy Statement on Water Use for Irrigation
We do everything we can to limit water usage. Eighty per cent of the campus irrigation systems utilize a non-potable water source. We have taken many significant measures over the past 9 years to reduce the University's water usage, although some measures occurred prior to that.
Eight years ago Physical Plant allocated over $100,000.00 to purchase a central computerized irrigation control system. We purchased the IMMS (Irrigation management and monitoring software). IMMS is a PC-based software package that makes central control of large-scale irrigation systems manageable from a desktop computer. This system allows us to control all of our sixty four irrigation controllers at one time. For instance, when a storm system is forecasted we are able turn off all irrigation with a few short commands. We can do this at the computer or remotely with I-Pads. Before the IMMS system we would have to send out an employee to each of the controllers and they would have to turn the controller to an offsetting or rain delay. After the storm passed we would have to send them back out to turn them back on. Each of these trips would take almost an entire day to complete. We now use that significant saved time to upgrade and fine tune the various irrigation systems and closely monitor our water use. Both of the Gardemeyer fields are now running on an ET (evapotranspiration) based computer program. The computer takes information from our weather station and calculates the evapotranspiration rate and adjusts the system to water only as much as the turf needs. We plan on expanding the ET based concept to the rest of our irrigation in time.
There are only a few reasons we water during the day. One reason is to catch up from recent outdoor events. Generally these events require us to turn off the water for a couple of days prior to the event. In the summer months it is crucial to hydrate the lawns soon after these events. We do a light non-potable watering during the day to ease the stress of the grass, then later in the evenings when evapotranspiration rates are at their lowest, we run another program so we are able to properly hit the target root zone. Another reason you may see the system running during the day is for maintenance. We have two full time employees that are responsible for the upkeep of our system. We have an estimated 50 thousand sprinkler heads on campus and we have to run the systems briefly during the day in order to check for breaks and leaks. Not doing so would only result in larger amounts of water waste and we do this regularly to limit our water waste. Sometimes you will see a gardener spot watering an area where a sprinkler has failed to work properly consequently drying out the lawn. We ask that the gardeners spot water the area rather than running the entire station. Lastly, there are a few times during the year when we over seed the athletic fields. During these transitional months we need to run the system for proper seed germination. These seed programs are common practices. We also may be watering during the day during the 21 day establishment period for new plantings. Both of these are exceptions to the City of Stockton regulations on water use which we have attached. There are other several exceptions in the regulations that apply to the University including an exception to non-potable water use but we use that exception only when absolutely necessary. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously.
Muir Botanical Area
Some know the story of the Muir Botanical Area, but for those that do not: Jeannette Powell expressed an interest in a collaborative space for the Powell Scholars; Callison Hall was chosen and in 2011 we remodeled Callison with Jeannette collaborating and heavily involved in the design and the project. Towards the end of the project Jeannette visited to inspect the almost completed work (and inspected the work very closely) so she could plan the artwork to be hung. After Jeannette left I returned to Callison Hall to measure the columns for her and observed a series of Grounds Department activities in the confined courtyard which amplified the noise of a mower, then an edger, and then a blower as the Grounds crew cared for the series of small, never used plots of grass as well as the weary ornamental plantings from 1962, the abandoned water feature that a Silk tree was planted in the middle of 30 years ago which had cracked the concrete and cracked the semicircular brick bench as well, the old brick shed with a roll up door that once had two soda machines inside that had not been opened for over a decade, two very large sets of 20 old wooden bike lockers that were rarely used since they had been built and unused for over a decade as well and I lamented to myself that this was not much a front yard/back yard for the Powell Scholars to reflect in. Shortly thereafter I consulted with Jeannette and outlined my plan for the Muir Botanical Area. Jeannette was delighted and one of her art pieces that hung in Callison reflected the Muir theme so Toby and I began to plan frankly and in earnest. The cost was covered by Plant's budget. We looked on-line for flora mentioned in Muir's writings with minimal success so I contacted Bill Swagerty to ask if he knew of any such existing list, Michael Shea, his intern, was engaged and Michael went through Muir's writings and produced a fabulous report complete with pictures. Simultaneously one of my Engineering interns, Brad (Bruce) Bloom, surveyed the area and created the AutoCAD drawing necessary for Toby and local architect Jeff Gamboni to complete the planting and drip irrigation plans. This is the largest underground irrigation system on campus which uses 30 to 40 percent less water than pop-up heads. No chemicals, (fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides) are used in this area. I contacted Linda Norton and inquired if a Pharmacy class might be interested in researching Michael's list of flora for plants with medicinal qualities which was later completed. The final two parts of this project will be a phone application which would display the map of the garden which could open pictures of each of the flora as well as pictures of the associated insects and birds observed in the Muir Botanical Area, note the medicinal qualities of the flora as well as the Muir connection to the flora with references for all of the latter. Two engineering students, Taylor Yatogo and Josh Ciochon, for their senior project are creating this phone application. The outdoor art may be provided by a brother of one of the Powell Scholars who is an artist of some renown. -Scott Heaton, Director of Support Services