Thirty-eight trees fell on-campus in this year’s ice storm, yet flowers are blooming and spring has still sprung on Pierce College.
Keeping the campus pruned and bloomed is quite a challenge considering it takes between two and a half to three days to mow the grass on-campus.
Pierce College’s two gardeners, Keyth Mallam and Monty Adams, with monthly help from a prison work crew maintain the entire 85-acre campus.
“Without them [the workforce] it would be a completely different story around here,” Mallam said.
Students may have noticed the missing trees and 10 closed off parking spots that are being used to store gravel in the A lot near the maintenance shop because the shop is getting a fence put around it to secure the area and the equipment stored there.
There are a few additional parking spaced closed off for rented equipment for the fencing project and for storing a sand spreader that will replace the former method of manually dumping buckets of sand off the back of a utility vehicle in icy weather.
Weeds can be a problem around campus, too. Especially the horsetail, which is very hard to kill and has an elaborate root system. According to Mallam, when they dug up the weeds by the Garnero Child Center, they found horsetail roots that were 25 feet long.
The horsetail has not been a problem in the new landscaping surrounding the Arts and Allied Health building and Health Education Center which because of their green certification have completely different landscaping than the rest of the campus.
The AAH is surrounded by bark instead of groundcover and has a low-maintenance wildflower border. The 4,000 ferns surrounding the AAH were harvested from the woods on campus and planted by the work crew.
The pond in between the AAH and the HEC is also being fenced off for safety.
“There is always something that we want to improve on…like we want to put fertilizer all around the rhododendrons on campus,” Mallam said. “It never stops.”