Everyone that walks around campus notices the beautiful flowers, clean sidewalks and mowed lawns. However, the grounds department that makes it all happen rarely receives the recognition they deserve.
Bradley was awarded the Orchid Maintenance Award in late September for their hard work.
“We have a full-time crew doing what it takes to take care of campus,” crew member Evan McCauley said.
Keep Peoria Beautiful (KPB) hosts the Orchid and Onion and Iris Award. The Orchid and Onion Committee judges Peoria businesses and commercial properties based on nominations from the public. KPB has been recognizing the appearances of properties for more than 60 years.
The Orchid Maintenance Award is presented to previous Orchid Award winners; Bradley won this honor in 2009. The maintenance award recognizes that the property has been kept to high standards and in excellent condition over the years.
The group was surprised, happy and proud to receive the award this year.
“We try to do our best every year,” crew member Steve Millard said.
In 2009, the crew had nine members, but this year the department was down to five. Evan McCauley, Jon Starkey, Steve Millard, Dave Monckton and Jerry Collins make up the award-winning team.
“The time and attention that the Bradley Grounds [department] has made to ensure the property is well-kept, full of vibrant colors with use of both perennial and annual flowers [and] plants and clean of weeds and litter, is no small feat in such an expansive and highly populated property,” said Alicia Turner, Orchid and Onion chair.
Starkey said it takes initiative and pride to keep up with the maintenance of the property.
“I want it looking pristine like a golf course,” Starkey said.
The department said they do the work for the faculty, students, parents, prospective students and the public.
“It is so important for our community to understand how these properties make a positive impact on the health of our community and we want to recognize those whom do such,” Turner said.
The crew said that the students who help over the summer deserve some recognition as well. Students worked with the grounds crew and learned new skills outside the classroom.
The department is responsible for a variety of jobs on campus including mowing, mulching, leaf and snow removal and moving furniture.
“We do put a lot of effort into the flowers,” McCauley said. “People seem to like the red and white.”
The flowers are ordered in December from a supplier in El Paso, Texas who grows many of the plants from seed. They are delivered after Mother’s Day and are pulled in early November before the first frost.
The other recipients of the Orchid Maintenance Award are the Caterpillar Administrative Building, Sacred Heart Church and the West Lake Shopping Center.
KPB also bestows the Orchid Award, Beautification Award, Building Beautification Award and Property Maintenance Award to facilities that make an effort to keep their properties beautiful.