The UNC Asheville Grounds Department strives to maintain a healthy, safe, and beautiful campus environment by delivering an array of high quality services. The dedicated staff embrace environmental sustainability in the context of day-to-day tasks including, landscaping, waste management, vehicle maintenance, office moves, and support of other on-campus departments.
This department is responsible for all preventative maintenance and repair of campus operations vehicles and equipment, Motor pool, as well as student shuttle buses. This unit is responsible for preventative maintenance and repair of emergency generators and transfer switches. Additional duties include: generator maintenance, in-house DMV state vehicle inspections, maintenance and repair of fuel pumps, provide training and back up for drivers for the student shuttles service, provide car repair assistance (such as a flat tire) to students. As part of campus-wide sustainability goals, the staff in the Automotive shop are knowledgeable on the maintenance of electric and alternatively fueled vehicles. The shop also recycles many of their unique waste streams including batteries, motor oil, oil filters, and tires.
Grounds Maintenance and Landscape Development
The Grounds Division at UNC Asheville operates under the philosophy that our campus should serve as a public garden and outdoor laboratory. This results in landscaped areas on campus that are not only attractive but that also integrate edible plants, pollinator habitat, educational opportunities, and storm water management.
This department is responsible for the function and appearance of approximately 400 acres including the main campus and satellite properties. Grounds staff mow and trim of lawn areas; remove weeds; prune and fertilize trees and shrubs; mulch; maintain of parking lots, roads, sidewalks, and plazas; and collect of solid waste and recycling. The campus is divided into zones, with teams of grounds workers responsible for a particular geographical area.
Campus as an Urban Forest
As an urban forest, UNC Asheville’s campus provides the Asheville community with environmental, economic and social benefits. Forested parts of campus like Chestnut Ridge and The Big Meadow providing hiking and biking trails, habitat for wildlife, and cleaner air. Additionally, these wooded areas infiltrate storm water runoff, prevent erosion, and provide shade to minimize urban heat island effects. Thus, urban forests are not only about the trees in the city, but rather, they are a critical part of the green infrastructure that makes up the city and campus ecosystem.
UNC Asheville manages over 90 acres of naturally occurring woodland, and planted trees make the entire main campus a functional urban forest. The Grounds Department is working toward a Tree Campus Certification to recognize current management, development, and engagement efforts while committing to expand these efforts in the future.
Edibles on Campus
A collaborative effort among the Grounds Department, the Student Environmental Center, and the Office of Sustainability has brought many edible plants to the UNC Asheville campus. Fruits and vegetables are not only highlighted in campus gardens but these plants are incorporated into the entire landscape where students can harvest a snack on their way to the library. The campus community is encouraged to graze (not hoard) the variety of edibles on campus including: apples, pears, paw-paws, service berries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, muscadines, persimmons, tomatoes, squash, figs, herbs, and more.
Invasive Species and Integrated Pest Management Plan
To learn more, click on the links below:
Grounds Maintenance and Landscape Development staff play an important role in providing pollinator friendly habitat on the UNC Asheville campus. Check out our Pollinator Gardens webpage to learn more.
Storm water Management
The UNC Asheville Grounds Department believes that managing all environmental resources, including storm water is a priority. In keeping with this philosophy, UNC Asheville strives to address storm water quality and quantity concerns. The Grounds Department employs best management practices (BMPs) including: engineered wetlands, permeable pavement, underground cisterns, bio-retention areas, and vegetated swales. These BMPs filter runoff to remove pollutants and slow down the flow of storm water allowing it to infiltrate soils and minimizing downstream erosion.
In the case of inclement winter weather, the Grounds Department has developed plans for making campus as safe as possible. The Grounds crew reports to campus during cancellations and delays to clear sidewalks, roadways, parking lots, and steps. In preparation for large snow events, campus may be salted and sanded.