Monthly Archives: April 2011

New Building Preparation

Getting a new building ready to open is both exciting and taxing.  The preparation begins with the hiring of new employees; purchasing of new equipment; distributing trash and recycling receptacles; and creating employee custodial cleaning  workloads/routes.  All new campus buildings are funded at a higher maintenance rate to keep them in as  built condition.  The cleaning standards are higher for new buildings.    All of this activity is usually completed while having limited building access.  When construction is completed and the new building is turned over to the Physical Plant; we as a department make sure the building shines; making every attempt to make the new occupants feel welcome.

Pansies on Haigis Mall

On Tuesday, April 12, the Physical Plant Landscape Department planted 844 total pansies on the mound (176 white, 668 red) at Haigis Mall. 

The process for the planting started in December.  Members of the Landscape Management Staff called sales reps from seed companies to find a pansy closest to the Umass-Amherst Maroon color.  We used series Mammoth, cultivars  ‘Big Red’ and ‘Mammoth White Hot’.  We ordered 1500 pansies from Five Acre Farm in Northfield (for mound, planters, gardens)- grown especially for us, seeded in Dec. so ready for planting in early April as 6 in pots.  The maroon pansies were used for the background and the white pansies were used to design the “U” and “M”. 

Prior to the planting in April, we checked weather for low temperatures.  We did not want the temperature much below freezing (at lowest).  We did purchase a frost protection blanket so we would be prepared to cover plants if temps too much below 32 and hard frost warnings).

We prepared the mound by tilling in compost and regrading the area.  We put stakes in place where every plant should be at 11in on center and we used cardboard cutouts of equilateral triangles so every plant would be exactly 11 inches apart.

Fountains in Campus Pond

Spring is in the air at UMass and with that, the fountains are to be installed in the Campus Pond beginning March 28th.  We purchased the fountains for a few reasons –  for beautification, but also for aeration and circulation of the water.

 The installation of the three fountains takes roughly a day. First we must load them in our row boat one by one row out to the desired location and run guy wires to each side of the bank to hold them in place. We stake them down to the bank because the amount of water being taken in from the fountain would cause them to spin in a circular rotation.

Each fountain requires 3 feet of water to operate correctly, which is now possible from our Hydro raking project we did last fall.