Outdoor Maintenance Services

The Outdoor Maintenance Department is responsible for grounds maintenance of the 212 acres on the main campus and the 169 acres of property off the main campus.  In addition, we are provide the heavy equipment operations and labor to assist construction projects and other maintenance work.

Services provided by Outdoor Maintenance:

General Grounds Maintenance

The University uses a "Zone" concept of maintenance with 8 Gardeners throughout the year. The zone areas are:

  • Viking Union Area
  • Old Main Area
  • Ridgeway Area
  • Haskell Plaza Area
  • Academic Instructional Center Area
  • Campus Services Area
  • Fairhaven
  • Bill MacDonald Area

Each Gardener is responsible for:

  • Mowing
  • String trimming
  • Edging of the sidewalks and curbs.
  • Weeding
  • Mulching of the shrub and flower beds
  • Pruning of the shrubs & trees.
  • Daily litter cleanup in each of their respective areas.

A separate crew uses large riding mowers and assorted specialty mowers to mow the larger turf areas on campus.  They also provide support with leaf clean up in the fall and major tree removal.

Other State Funded Outdoor Maintenance Services 

  • Athletic field maintenance and renovation.
  • Use Integrated Pest Management approach in controlling of noxious weeds, plant pests and disease.
  • Review of Landscape plans and proposals and drawings.
  • Design and installation of annual plantings.
  • Heavy Equipment and labor support for utility repairs and new construction.
  • Road maintenance and repairs.
  • Repair of chain link fences.
  • Installation of campus signs.
  • Maintenance and removal of dead or fallen trees on campus as well as the Arboretum.
  • Repair, maintenance and construction of all landscape irrigation on campus.
  • Lawn renovation, repair and maintenance to all the informal lawns on campus
  • Clearing of all storm drains on campus and maintaining Campus Stormwater treatment facilities.
  • Maintenance and repair of over 10.5 acres of brick pavers on campus.
  • Labor assistance to other Facilities Maintenance shops including:
    • Paint Shop
    • Carpenters Shop
    • Electrical Shop
    • Plumbing Shop
    • Academic and Auxiliary Maintenance Mechanics.
    • Facilities Development and Capital Budget (FDCB).
  • Operation, maintenance and repair of large tractors, mowers and other grounds keeping equipment.
  • Manage and implement Campus Snow & Ice Removal.

Self-Sustaining Billable Outdoor Maintenance Services

Any special service (non-ordinary) requests require a funded Work Request submitted to the Work Control Center, 650-3420. Typical special service requests include:

    • Archives Building grounds work.
    • Event support including trash barrel placement and pick-up.
    • Fast pitch field maintenance.
    • Ground services for Associated Student property.
    • Parking lot services
    • Revenue generating events using campus grounds.

Integrated Pest Management

Most of the grounds personnel are certified in Integrated Pest Management. This is a holistic approach to controlling and maintaining pests, plant diseases, and weeds on campus. This allows us to limit the type and quantity of chemical and other less desirable controls. If the use of chemicals is unavoidable, we use less potent chemicals whenever possible. Chemicals are applied according to safety regulations and guidelines. Application usually occurs during the early morning hours or on weekends to avoid exposure to the campus community.

Athletic Field Maintenance

There are five athletic fields show below on campus covering nearly 12 acres. Each type of field requires it own specific maintenance.

  • Wade King Recreation Field
    • The newly installed field turf inside the track at the Wade King Recreation Center is a synthetic based turf field requiring less maintenance than the others. Duties involve daily trash clean up,  bimonthly sweeping of the field and raking as needed (1 time a year).
  • Fast-pitch Softball Field
    • The Fast pitch Softball field located off South College Way by the Tennis courts requires intensive maintenance during the season. This involves grooming and striping  the infield to prepare it for every practice and game. Mowing and edging the outfield two times a week to ensure a consistent playing field as possible.
  • Sand based fields
    • The three sand based fields
      • Carver Field
      • Upper Fairhaven
      • Lower Fairhaven
    • Carver field- located just north of the track and Upper and Lower Fairhaven Fields- located off of South College Way across from Fairhaven College require weekly mowing during the mowing season and the occasional infill of sand as needed as ruts and divots occur. Every few years each field is thoroughly renovated with a new sand base to level the field and re-seeded. The renovated field is then closed for two to three months to allow for the grass to reestablish.

Snow Removal

Western Washington University’s snow removal plan is based specifically on meeting the transportation needs of campus while keeping the disruption of schedules to a minimum. Snow and ice removal will continue to a major priority on campus so that staff, students and visitors can travel with minimal risk. Below is the Campus Snow Removal, Equipment routes for plowing, Priorities for Parking lot snow removal and the Limited Response plan for snow occurrences after hours and on the weekend.

Heavy Equipment

The Outdoor Maintenance shop is responsible for all in-house Heavy Equipment needs on campus. These needs include backhoes and excavator for in ground utility work, the man-lift for lighting repair and tree removal and our Eductor truck and dump trucks for cleaning storm drain and debris removal.

Heavy Equipment

Landscape Management

  • Design and Construction

The outdoor maintenance staff has an extensive backgrounds in the landscaping field as well as the field of Horticulture. Many of our large renovations have occurred in-house starting from the conceptual design to the installation in the field.

Carver Gym Renovation Project Higginson Renovation Project
Carver Gym Renovation Higginson Renovation
  • Annual Planting

    Annuals make up about three percent of the grounds budget but play an important role in the aesthetics of campus. There are only about a dozen areas where annuals are planted usually in high traffic areas such as the PA plaza and Red Square. Approximately 4000 square feet is designated for annual plantings. The added color and beauty they create truly contributes to the wonderful reputation of being one the most attractive campuses in the northwest.

    Performing Arts Plaza Planter
    Performing Arts Plaza Planter

  • Tree Management
    • Trees of Interest at WWU
    • Myrl Beck Tree Fund - This Foundation of WWU fund was established by Myrl Beck, retired faculty, in 2008 to received donations for the purchase of new varieties of trees and/or replacement trees for main campus to support a diverse tree collection on campus for educational purposes.  The fund are used for tree material costs only.  Installation is provided by Outdoor Maintenance.
    • Tree Removal Plan - The linked map below shows planned tree removal schedules.  Our intent is to manage WWU's tree inventory effectively through planned maintenance, removal and replacement as needed.
  • Goltz Memorial Garden Fund - Located at the Archives Building on WWU property the fund was established by Barney Goltz in memory of his wife.  This fund was specifically establish to guarantee the material costs to maintain the garden would always be available to Outdoor Maintenance by expending fund interest only.

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Reduction Impacts

These reductions resulted in the loss of 1.2 Gardener FTE's.  There are currently 8 Gardeners on staff including 1 lead Gardeners.  This is a reduction in services of 13%.  The 1.2 FTE were intended to address the increased maintenance needs resulting from the new Academic Instructional Center, Miller Hall renovation, Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC) new facility and other grounds minor capital projects.  This reduction translates into the following service impacts.

  • Loss of the 0.2 FTE part time need for gardening at Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC) resulted in gardeners from main campus going to SPMC once per month during the growing season to keep up with maintenance needs.  With travel time this reduces the gardening time available on the main campus by approximately 2.5%.
  • Reduce gardening time available for:
    • Weeding
    • Lawn edging
    • Tree & shrub pruning
    • General landscape clean-up in wild minimum maintenance areas
    • Less frequent hand mowing
    • Irrigation impacts


  • Gardener Areas - A campus map showing acreage maintained by Outdoor Maintenance


Outdoor Maintenance Services Metrics


Sustainability is commonly defined as meeting our current needs without compromising the abilities of future generation to meet their own needs.

Outdoor Maintenance is committed to sustainable development by incorporating sustainable practices in our day to day operations, we have the ability to significantly reduce the negative environmental impact with the following methods:

  • Established pesticide free zones.
  • Use of organic fertilizer, fertile mulch, alfalfa meal, and insecticidal soaps.
  • Compost tea with beneficial bacteria’s used in the rose garden as a natural fungicide also providing essential nutrients.
  • Implemented Integrated Pest Management Control methods.
  • Use of alternative weed control methods, including Mulching with wood chips, sheet mulching with cardboard, applications of vinegar, weed burning torch.
  • Selected lawns converted to wild areas.
  • Drip irrigation to save water.
  • Utilizing campus leaves and debris to create compost for the following year.
  • Selection of native and drought tolerant plants.

Burning Weeds On Campus Using Woodchips For Mulch.jpg
Burning weeds instead of
herbicide application
Using wood chips for mulch

Training - Under construction

Contact Us

Gary Hodge, Outdoor Maintenance Supervisor

  • Email: 
  • Phone:  650-2878


Related links: - Under Construction

Page Updated 02.07.2017