Grounds Work Unit

The Grounds Work Unit maintains all UWSP campus landscapes with more than 110 years of history and memories for generations of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Grounds is responsible for developing and maintaining aesthetically pleasing and safe campus grounds with an emphasis on diverse flora. The UWSP Grounds Work Unit maintains 104 acres of turf and annual and perennial beds, 12 miles of sidewalk, and 28 acres of parking lots with 3,202 parking stalls.


Our dedicated Grounds staff provides the University with a clean, lush, well maintained landscape that supports academic and recreational needs for all users. Our campus grounds provide a wonderful place for users to study or simply relax and enjoy the landscape that uniquely describes Central Wisconsin. Our Grounds Unit also maintains all campus athletic fields, parking lots and roadways. It is our goal to provide a safe and enjoyable campus setting.​

Requests for grounds work can be processed through the computerized work order system. Just click on the "Submit A Work Order" button in the left column.

The Green Fund mission is to encourage and fund projects that positively affect the sustainability of the UWSP campus community. The fund accomplishes this by investing capital in longterm sustainable projects that affect the way our campus uses energy and our shared natural resources.  UWSP Grounds was recently able to purchase battery operated equipment because of this wonderful program.

For information regarding Grounds new 'Steam Weeder' which was purchased with Green Fund resources, please CLICK HERE.

 What kind of work do you do?

Grounds Maintenance including...              
  • Mowing
  • Edging
  • Pruning
  • Weeding
  • Leaf Removal
  • Snow Removal
Landscaping Services like...   
  • Sod replacement              
  • Shrub bed renewal, installation and repair              
  • Mulching              
  • Seeding              
  • Annual, Perennial and Bulb Planting              
Tree Services like...  
  • Removal              
  • Trimming              
  • Pruning              
  • Planting              
We also take care of trash removal, general campus grounds clean up and general parking lot care along with many other duties.

 Who takes care of the athletic fields on the UWSP campus?

The UWSP Grounds Work Unit cares for all of the athletic fields on the university campus. Their constant goal is to provide the university’s athletic teams, intramural participants and the community with fields of a caliber that equal those of professional sporting venues. UWSP fields receive scheduled care under strict fertilization, top dressing and aerification programs. The grounds work unit maintains a 7 acre multi-purpose field, Point Soccer Bowl, University Baseball Field, McCarty Memorial Softball Field, Kohlman Outdoor Track, Upper DeBot Field and 2 practice football fields including Eddie Kotal Field. They are top dressed once per year during the summer months. They are aerified twice per year. Once during the summer and a second time after each sport that utilizes that particular field has concluded their season.
For UWSP sporting events, the Grounds Work Unit does all the needed preparation, including field striping, leveling, raking, painting logos and all other necessary functions.  The campus fields are host to a variety of sporting competitions and are also used for practice areas for Baseball, Cross Country, Football, Outdoor Track & Field, Golf, Soccer, Softball, and Tennis.
Fields on the university campus are also used for a wide variety of intramural sports. The Grounds Work Unit takes great pride in maintaining 7 acres of fields which are primarily used for general sporting activities, as well as Rugby, Lacrosse, Soccer, Flag Football, Frisbee and much more. The same care that is put into UWSP’s competitive venues is given to these multi-use areas.

 Do you use pesticides and fertilizers?

The answer is yes, the UWSP Grounds Work Unit does use pesticides but only for certain areas that may demand it like curbs, patios and walkways. Over the past several years, the amount of pesticides that the Grounds Work Unit utilizes has been reduced to 2 products, a reduction of close to 90%. We also have chosen a student weeding staff vs. pesticides for all our berms and flower beds. As the Grounds staff has learned to become more eco-friendly, the amount of applications of pesticides has greatly reduced.
All members of the Grounds staff that apply pesticides are state certified for applying restricted-use chemicals. What is important to note is that the UWSP Grounds Work Unit do not utilize any restricted-use chemicals, however the staff uses the same demanding application procedures when applying pesticides on campus. Whenever pesticides or fertilizers are applied, a MOD is distributed in advance of the application notifying campus of the event.
With the eco system in mind, organic based fertilizers are used in over 2/3rds of campus applications. The Grounds Work Unit uses ‘Nature Safe’ fertilizer which is constituted from animal proteins. The feather meal, blood meal, meat meal and bone meal found in ‘Nature Safe’ are the same ingredients used in animal nutrition and pet foods.  Synthetic fertilizers are only applied when grassy areas need to be turned around in a short period of time. Product 2-4D is used on grassy areas to control broadleaf weeds including dandelions, chickweed, and plantain.  Pesticides are used once per year in the summer. 'Nature Safe' fertilizers are used on athletic fields 3 times throughout the year.

 Who plants and cares for the flower beds and gardens on campus?

95% of all flower beds and gardens on campus are cared for by the Grounds Work Unit staff and student workers.  The flora is intended to be as diverse as our community.  We have over 200 berms, gardens and planters across campus of which all are weeded by hand and mulched multiple times throughout the growing season.  Fresh mulch is applied to the gardens in late spring and early summer, then again as needed to keep the berm looking good.  The grounds work unit spreads over 140 yards (63 ton) of screened compost each year. There are a few gardens found on campus that are maintained by student organizations like the Sustainable Campus Garden, Ethnobotanical Garden and the Herb Garden.The Sustainable Campus Garden is used as an outdoor classroom teaching students about local food production by offering workshops on topics from canning to composting.             
The Grounds Work Unit continually looks for innovative ways to utilize growing space on the university campus. A vacant lot on campus, intended for future use as parking space, is currently being used as a tree nursery. Through coordination with university professors and the Grounds staff, this otherwise empty space acts as a classroom where students can learn how to plant and care for trees. The trees that are grown and cared for in this nursery are in turn replanted throughout the campus, providing oxygen, beauty and shade for years to come.      

 How does the campus irrigation system work?

Over 95% of all green area on the university campus is irrigated.  The irrigation system utilizes 24 clocks which are monitored and controlled with the help of ‘Hunter's Irrigation Management & Monitoring Software’ (IMMS), a computer based software.  Irrigation is performed during the evening and early morning hours to maximize watering efficiency and reduce the effects of evaporation.                
Knowing that water is a precious resource, the Grounds Work Unit uses sensors for detecting rain that can shut down irrigation systems, eliminating any water waste.  Through the use of technology, the Grounds Work Unit is able to conserve water.

 Do you take care of snow removal and grass cutting?

The Facility Services Department provides snow and ice removal for most of the UWSP campus. The only exception being areas immediately adjacent to residential living facilities. These areas are served by Residential Living staff.  There are 12 miles of sidewalk, numerous driveways, numerous handicap ramps, loading docks, service roads, as well as 27 parking lots of various sizes that must be expeditiously plowed and or salted for safe accessibility during winter months. The Grounds Work Unit is always looking for reasonable and sustainable means for snow and ice removal. We currently pretreat our stairs and sidewalks with a liquid brine solution that limits snow and ice from sticking to pavement. The brine pretreat makes it much easier to remove snow from these surfaces and it greatly reduces the amount of rock salt needed for deicing.
To better serve the needs of the campus, Facility Services has implemented the concept of “weather focus”. In short, this concept allows us to direct our staff (regardless of job classification) to address weather related emergencies.
For information regarding the “Weather Focus” process, please refer to the Facility Services Winter Weather Response Plan by clicking here.
The Grounds Work Unit’s Snow Removal Map can be viewed by clicking here.
The UWSP Facility Services Snow Removal Plan can be viewed by clicking the snowflake below.

Mowing the many lawned areas across campus on a regular basis helps keep the grass short, neat and even. This also gives the lawns a manicured and orderly appearance.  More importantly, mowing the lawn helps keep it healthy and eliminates some of the pests from grass at the same time.  It also ensures that various pieces of debris are picked up and are cleared every week, so that nothing really accumulates on the grass. We cut the academic green spaces once per week at a height of 2.5 inches. We cut athletic fields twice per week at a height of 2 inches.
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