October 20, 2017
Writer: Emma Drake
Throughout each season, the BYU-Idaho grounds crew works hard to fulfill their mission "to support the university mission statement by maintaining a wholesome, academic, cultural, and spiritual environment."
The grounds crew is responsible for the maintenance of all BYU-Idaho property with the exception of the Ricks Garden. The property is divided into nine geographical areas with a team of students and a full-time employee covering each area. BYU-Idaho Grounds Supervisor Jeff Wynn has a team of 15 full-time employees he manages. During the summer months he employs more than 80 student employees. (Only about 60 students work during the winter months.)
Each student employee is assigned to a team. Each team maintains their assigned geographical area, unless there is a large project due that requires them to all work together. A big project they did earlier this year included redoing the landscape around Chapman and Lamprecht Halls.
"It is a whole team effort," Wynn said. "Right now, it works great. Everybody gets along and they work well together."
Employees can be found at all hours throughout the day working to maintain the grounds. During the summer months they are out early mowing lawns before most student employees have arrived on campus.
"They come in a little earlier, because they can get around campus easier when there is not a lot of traffic," Wynn said.
During the winter months, crews stay out late, ensuring the streets and sidewalks are safe for both pedestrians and drivers.
"Last winter we hauled 5,500 truckloads of snow off campus," Wynn said. "It was a big year last year. We spent a lot of late nights doing that."
The teams cover everything from snow removal in the winter, to landscaping in the summer, to recycling and garbage pickup year round. One team maintains the landscaping at the BYU-Idaho president's house and the Rexburg Temple president's house. Other teams sweep the streets and maintain the greenhouse.
"We do a lot that goes unnoticed," Wynn said. "I need to give grounds employees their kudos because they are going to school and most of them are married and they are trying to make ends meet. They come to work and they just do a fabulous job. They make it happen."
Jon Baker, a grounds student employee, was unaware of all the work required to maintain the campus until he became a groundskeeper.
"I didn't realize how much work went into keeping it looking nice," Baker said. "It always looked nice. We have to cut up the grass every day and trim the lawn. It is fun to do this job because you get to see the work you do."
Wynn says it is their goal to provide a beautiful and safe environment for all who step foot onto BYU-Idaho property.
"We want it to look beautiful in the summer and to be safe in the winter," Wynn said. "Parents trust the campus will be a safe environment. That is a huge responsibility."
Geleta Arlo, another student groundskeeper, believes the beauty of the campus is important for the health of employees and students.
"When you are stressed out with school and you walk around and see so much greenery and a clean campus, it helps you relax," Arlo said.