210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

News Release

For immediate use 

Nov. 4, 2005 -- No. 557

UNC grounds department recognized
with national award for campus beauty

CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill grounds services department faces the difficult task of maintaining the campus’ historic beauty while Carolina undergoes a $1.5 billion facelift that currently includes 30 active construction projects. And it has risen to the occasion.

The department has been selected to receive a 2005 Grand Award from the Professional grounds Management Society’s Green Star Awards competition for its work on McCorkle Place, Polk Place and the Old Well.

The grand award is the society’s top honor and is given to recognize the best maintenance and cultivation practices of landscape programs throughout the nation.

The winners, who will be honored at an awards dinner in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday (Nov. 5), will be featured in Landscape Management magazine.

Carolina’s 88 grounds workers maintain approximately 758 acres of campus grounds, including 125 acres of managed lawn, more than 30 acres of shrub beds and groundcover and 6,710 trees representing 156 species.

“We are very pleased with the PGMS Grand Award, and I am grateful for the dedicated and hard-working employees that made it possible,” said Kirk Pelland, grounds services director. “UNC grounds employees work with a sense of pride in what they do, and they understand that a beautiful campus is part of what makes Carolina such a special place.”

One of the challenges that the grounds department faces in the midst of a campus under construction is how to move forward on the projects in a way that is environmentally sensitive and retains the diverse beauty of the campus grounds.

“The scale and pace of the current construction program presents a number of challenges to the grounds services department,” Pelland said. “We have established requirements for providing a tree and landscape protection plan for each project and make every effort to maintain the campus in a safe and pleasing condition while the construction progresses.”

The 2001 campus master plan, which guides the site selection and design of new buildings, has been essential in directing this growth. The master plan was recognized this year with an Excellence in Planning and Architecture Merit Award from the Society for College and University Planning and the American Institute of Architects.

“The university community regards the campus landscape as one of its most valuable assets, and as the campus continues to grow, there has been a healthy concern for maintaining the beauty and diversity that are considered part of the Carolina tradition,” Pelland said. “In maintaining the campus, every effort is made to establish or restore landscape rooms and open lawns with adjacent or overtopping shade trees to provide a landscape that invited small gatherings, solitary reflection and recreation, and is a landscape that the university community will use and enjoy.”

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Photographs of campus sites for which the department is being recognized:

Grounds services department contact: Kirk Pelland, (919) 962-2069 or
News Services contact: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093 or