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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
Matt Bailey, agriculture and special equipment operator I (in yellow vest), works with students to install the irrigation system on the corner of Wilson Road and Bogue Street.

Matt Bailey, agriculture and special equipment operator I (in yellow vest), works with students to install the irrigation system on the corner of Wilson Road and Bogue Street.

Watering a way to success

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Aug. 31, 2012

MSU Horticulture students recently had a unique opportunity to help irrigate the grounds in front of the newly constructed Plant and Soil Sciences expansion on the corner of Wilson Road and Bogue Street.

Academic Specialist Marcus Duck worked with Landscape Architect II/S Adam Lawver and Planner/Inspector/Analyst I Adam Kingsbury to set up a class to provide students hands-on experience in irrigation installation.

“I started talking to Marcus last fall about working with students. He was struggling with providing students with real-life projects before they graduate. I worked with him to figure a way for his 18 students to experience installing an irrigation system before they graduate,” said Lawver.

During their regularly scheduled lab time, the students convened outside of the new expansion and were able to learn from members of the Physical Plant* irrigation crew.  

One week prior to the installation, the students met during their lab period and were given a presentation by Lawver and Brian Keesey, planner/inspector/analyst I. The presentation explained how the students would assist in the installation.

The process leading to the installation of the irrigation system was lengthy, and many Phys Planters participated in getting the project ready. Landscape Designer Tressa Wahl stated that the designing process took a couple of years. It was completed a short time before the students helped install it.

“My part of the project was to design and implement the needs and wants of the Horticulture Department, Spartan Design, the design consultant for all irrigation projects, along with the needs and wants for Landscape Services in maintaining the irrigation system,” said Wahl.

Wahl worked with Lawver’s irrigation installation crew to coordinate when installation would begin.

Irrigation Systems Maintainer Danny Jacques coordinated the installation of the irrigation system. Once the design for the system was complete, Jacques worked with Lawver and Duck to schedule a time for the class to help with the installation process.

On the day of the project, the Phys Plant’s grounds irrigation and grounds site crews were on hand to guide the students in installing the irrigation system.

 “This was the first time that we’ve worked with students and partnered with a department. We’re trying to improve and strengthen our relationships with MSU’s Horticulture Department,” said Lawver.

Lawver stated that the relationship is important so students can see how Physical Plant provides experience for students in horticulture majors. When it comes time to gain experience while taking classes, or for a job after graduation, the Physical Plant is a smart choice.

The Horticulture Department benefits from the relationship because its students get hands-on experience. “The components and installation were discussed in class, but there is only so much you can learn from looking at a PowerPoint. It was good for them to go out there and get their hands on it,” said Duck.

Both Landscape Services and the Horticulture Department saw the project as a success.

“This project was not mandatory, but everyone came. The students worked and had a good time. They learned a lot, so it was a good experience for them,” said Duck. “I would like to do it again in the future.”

July/August 2012

*Prior to the creation of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities in January 2013, several IPF departments were a part of the now-dissolved MSU Physical Plant. Some historical articles on this website reference that former unit.

Employees involved in this project:

Danny Jacques
irrigation systems maintainer

Pam VanBlaircum
on-call service/maintenance

Scott Feick
on-call service/maintenance         

Chad Maciejewski
grounds horticulture assistant I

Jake Webster
on-call service/maintenance

Rudy Gaytan
grounds/site construction group/leader

John Jonckheere
landscape services equipment operatorv

Derek Proulx
agriculture and special equipment operator I

Sarah Greene
laborer II

Matt Bailey
agriculture and special equipment operator I

Tim Malburg
grounds horticulture assistant I

Tyler Dyke
grounds horticulture assistant I

Brian Keesey
planner/inspector/analyst I

Adam Lawver
landscape architect II/s

Bruce Jeffrey
on-call service/maintenance

Adam Kingsbury
planner/inspector/analyst I