By: Yuri Smishkewych | Published April 29, 2016
With Kean abloom, it’s hard not to notice all the work that’s going on to beautify the campus.
Welcoming daffodils and geraniums line the walkways in front of Kean Hall, multicolored pansies in planters on Cougar Walk, and tulips adorn the landscaped areas in the courtyard in front of the Miron Student Center.
“It’s one of the quaintest atmospheres you can find on any college campus in New Jersey,” said Cyril Yemafio, a communications major.
But as any avid gardener knows, there’s a great deal of planning and hard work involved.
Enter the teams that make it all happen: The men and women at the Office of Facilities and Campus Planning and the landscapers that can be seen carting around wheelbarrows or busily zipping about in all- terrain vehicles.
And they’re not the only green thumbs on campus—Kean’s president also takes part in the process as well.
“Landscape design is a coordinated effort between the Facilities and Campus Planning and GCA [Services] with direction and input from Dr. Farahi,” said Danielle Denise Ford of University Relations.
According to Ford, every year there are two to three “color changes” depending on the weather: planters are spruced up at the beginning of spring in anticipation of Open House, another change in late spring or summer and a final change in autumn.
This spring, the process of campus- wide landscaping “has been particularly challenging,” Ford said before describing that at the beginning of the season the campus is evaluated for any damages that may have occurred over the winter: The pH of soil is checked and corrected and grass areas—especially those damaged by Old Man Winter’s wrath—are replanted.
“We do not turn on the irrigation systems or plant a fragile or temperature-sensitive material until we are sure that the cold weather is behind us,” she added.
As for the source of the annuals and perennials seen on campus, Ford said that Kean prefers to deal with local growers since, “local growers are also more in-tune with our climate and weather patterns.”
Students, faculty and staff will also be surprised to know that there is even a small greenhouse at the maintenance area that’s used to cultivate and protect the plants before they’re planted.
And its not only members of the Kean community that take notice of our verdurous campus. User-generated review websites—like unigo.com, cappex.com, colleges.niche.com, etc.—often mention the beautiful scenery.
So how much do these well-manicured lawns, trimmed trees, and freshly mulched and varicolored gardens cost?
According to Ford, all of Kean’s three campuses makeup approximately 112 acres of “open space.” The term includes all the landscaped areas, lawns, and areas that haven’t any hardscapes, or non-manmade fixtures like the campus’s concrete walkways and paths.
“The cost for grounds maintenance which includes the seasonal changes, daily maintenance, lawn care, exterior trash removal, plantings and snow removal is $1.3 million or 27 cents per square foot,” said Ford.