Pacific grounds, facilities staff steadfast during change

University of the Pacific employee Dillon Krieger uses an edger to trim the lawn on the Stockton Campus on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

University of the Pacific employee Dillon Krieger uses an edger to trim the lawn on the Stockton Campus on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

Amid remote learning, summer break and a mostly empty Stockton Campus, some constants remain. Two of those are the beauty of University of the Pacific and the pristine condition of its buildings and facilities.

This does not happen with a snap of the fingers. The diligent, dedicated work of grounds and building personnel has continued straight through from mid-March during the global pandemic.

Pacific’s new president Christopher Callahan said he is appreciative of that work every day.

“Jean and I have the privilege of living on the Stockton Campus, and it truly feels that we are living in a 175-acre park,” he said. “When we are all back on our campuses, everyone will be excited to see our buildings and grounds in such superb shape!”

Throughout the summer, Positively Pacific has written about dedicated essential workers who have kept the university functioning and served the needs of students, faculty and staff. This time we laud those who take care of campus grounds and facilities.

“It has been very tough, but we really bonded together and made things work out,” said Toby Rose, senior superintendent of grounds. “In some cases, we were able to identify improvements or ways of doing things that were more efficient. Everybody turned up their efforts. We had some retirements and had to make due with less staff. But everyone takes pride and things have worked out.”

Rose said the grounds and facilities crews worked well together to give the campus the care it needed.

“Life continues. There are HVAC units to work on, plumbing to handle and lawns to be mowed,” Rose said.

Rose agrees with President Callahan’s description of the campus as a park. The Stockton Campus became even more so over the summer as citizens looked for places to get outdoors with enough open area for safe social distancing.

“At times it has been like a civic park,” Rose said. “I think the beauty of campus and the chance to get out of your home and enjoy the surroundings were enticing to people.”

Staff also has been busy displaying COVID-19 related signs, window decals and working on other safety measures. 

Staff yearns for the time students, faculty and staff can return to all campuses safely. In the meantime, Rose and Callahan are proud of the efforts and results.

“I would like to thank all of the staff for their hard work in these trying times,” he said. “They showed what it is like to be true Pacificans. Hats off to everyone.”

“We are so proud of all of our colleagues on the grounds and facilities staff,” President Callahan said. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, they continue to work tirelessly to maintain our three campuses. And they do so spectacularly well.”