Physical Plant grounds crew making us look good.
Physical Plant News

“Welcome!” from UMass Physical Plant

An introduction to our new webpage

We’ve dedicated this page to helping you stay in the loop with all of our projects. Follow along with our highlighted series, where you’ll learn about endeavors to restore the campus pond, install a pollinator garden, and create wildlife habitat on campus. Along with details from the Landscape Management crew, other stories will be featured to share the ins and outs of Physical Plant work on campus. Thank you for tuning in, and we look forward to updating you as our crews undertake some new and exciting initiatives!

The Inside Scoop

Of Cobblestones and Concrete

Cobblestones are an ancient way to pave a road or walkway. As a trial project, sections of the campus landscape that are compacted and rutted are being restored with cobblestones. Other areas that are eroded by water, used as shortcut paths, or are just too small to grow grass or plant material are being redressed, as well.

Cobblestones help to slow erosion, while allowing rainwater to disperse. They provide a more porous alternative to blacktop, and consequently, they help to slow runoff, enabling water to soak into the ground. Combining strength, durability, skid resistance and minimal water absorption, granite cobblestones are the ideal material to use as edging or to infill areas where plant material is difficult to grow or to maintain. They also add beauty and resilience to the campus landscape. This natural, sustainable stone complements a wide variety of other paving materials and enhances the visual appearance of our built landscape. As ancient roads do testify, granite cobblestone will outlive most other paving materials and can be repurposed. The stones for this project come from the landscape inventory, recycled from previous jobs.

Cobblestone project site (Eastman Lane, near Sylvan Residential Area)

Finishing up the job with Steve Bourguignon (left, Construction Management) and Sean Walker (right, Landscape Management)

In addition to the cobblestones project, Landscape and Construction Management staff have been completing many concrete repairs across campus. Here are some before and after photos of their work.

Hasbrouck Lab:


Chenoweth Lab:

Hampshire House:

New Africa House:

Welcoming the Class of 2020 in style

Fetching flower arrangements adorned the tables at the New Student Orientation luncheon as forty containers of succulents (echeveria, jade, burro’s tail, and agave) were delivered to the Campus Center 10th Floor to be enjoyed by parents during their two day orientation programming. The arrangements were created by Sandi Olesin, with some assistance from UMass Landscape Management staff. Sandi (pictured below) is a senior studying Sustainable Horticulture through the Stockbridge School; she is one of three student interns spending the summer with the landscaping crew.

The succulents were purchased as tiny plants and placed in the Landscape Management greenhouse to continue their very slow growing. Stockbridge interns and Landscape staff nurture and maintain the plants in the greenhouse. Sandi, and others, will manage the arrangements throughout the New Student Orientation programming, providing a living and artful decoration to the luncheon tables. Recent centerpieces featured a new assemblage of colorful blooms and assorted greens.