Columbia Wins Best Urban Campus Grounds Prize

PGMS Salutes Columbia University for Grounds Management Excellence

Office of the Executive Vice President
October 29, 2007

(BALTIMORE) - The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) recognized Columbia University in New York City with a Grand Award in the Society's 2007 Green Star Awards competition. The award was given in the Urban University Grounds category for exceptional grounds maintenance. Winners were honored during the Society's 2007 School of Grounds Management held in conjunction with the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., (Oct. 24-27).

The facilities department at Columbia in the City of New York maintains 36 acres. Managing a campus in the midst of this metropolis means high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic requiring the maintenance of acres of hardscapes including concrete sidewalks, brick and asphalt pavers, and granite steps. With all the time devoted to maintaining hardscapes, the grounds staff has had to come up with some creative solutions to trim dollars off of their budget elsewhere. One solution was to reduce mowed acreage, specifically in areas which were difficult to access with mowers. For example, in some areas on campus sod has been replaced by ground cover such as purple-leaf winter creeper, not only reducing mowing but also water ertilizer requirements.

"This is a great honor to receive," said Grounds Supervisor Frank Molina. "It not onl recognizes the efforts put in by my staff, but also Columbia University's commitment towards enriching the lives of its students and faculty through green spaces." The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complimenting other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction. This year's program acknowledged the nation's top manicured grounds in settings ranging from parks to apartment complexes to cemeteries. Overall, PGMS presented 19 Grand Awards, its highest honor, as well as 20 Honor Awards in 14 categories of competition.

Founded in 1911, PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development. For further information on PGMS, contact the Society at 720 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230, phone: 410-223-2861, e-mail: [email protected], or visit them online at