New landscaping around Sac State

New landscaping around Sac State


New landscaping around Sac State

Ronnie Dela Cruz

Over the summer, Facilities Services made changes to the landscaping throughout campus.

Daryn Ockey, who took over as the the director of facility operations at Sacramento State a little less than a year ago, said they had been fairly static about the way they had been treating the campus in the past but are now doing more to make the campus stand out.

“We’re a university,” Ockey said. “We do things very well, we should be proud of our area and the students should have a fond recollection of this place when they leave.”

The central project was the addition of rocks along the pathway behind the Union, an area he said is in a particularly visible area and difficult to maintain.

“It suffers a lot of damage from traffic (and) vendors and because it’s all shade, the grass doesn’t come back,” Ockey said. “I mean we just can’t get it to come back.”

The construction for the pathway started at the end of last semester and was completed at the beginning of August.

Raymon Pierce, a senior communications major, said he appreciates the effort that went into the layout of the campus because of his background as a landscaper.

“Now that you tell me about the changes, I feel guilty for not noticing it because I know how much work is put into that,” Pierce said.

Ockey said they began thinking of ways they could keep the area looking better as it is a highly visible area of campus. They thought if they put the cobblestones along some walkways, it will minimize the informal pathways – also known as desire pathways – which damage the grass.

“(Placing cobblestones) will just stop all that grass from getting damaged. It will lower our maintenance cost because we over-seeded and -watered and we just keep wasting money and time, and it’s obviously not where we want to be going,” Ockey said.

Ockey said while the new changes do offset vendors, there are still some spaces because of the free speech area. He said what they reserved a couple areas to install a 6-foot round of DG, or decomposed granite, pathways that are packed down so they have an area to stand where they are not on the pathway, with cobblestones behind them.

“Ultimately, we’re a university (with) educational missions and all the things that students come to a university for,” Ockey said. “Brick and mortar universities have value because of social interaction and I think us having places and respecting that people need places to express their opinions – we have to accommodate that stuff. I don’t have a problem with that at all.”

Ockey said part of the changes have to do with their stormwater management plan, where they have agreed not to water pathways. Facilities is supposed to water on the grass and not pathways and by putting in the cobblestone border, they will have extra room for sprinklers to prevent watering the pathways.

“By putting DG in there, we preserve that permeability and the water can still go down through the DG and not go onto the pathway,” Ockey said. “The DG will allow them a space where they are not standing on the rocks. Like I said that’s not comfortable (and) it’ll be right next to the pathway.”

One group that the DGs will benefit will be the Sigma Ki Ex fraternity, which is an unrecognized fraternity trying to regain recognition because they were off-campus last spring. They can only set up away from the normal spots designated for set-up for fraternities and sororities.

Kyle Tanaka, a communications studies senior who is a member of Sigma Ki Ex said that he thinks the new rocks make the area look nice.

“It’s a nice shake-up,” Tanaka said. “Going into my fourth year here, it’s always interesting to see some new things happening.”

Ockey said he is happy to showcase the landscaping changes because he said the groundspeople generally do not get a lot of recognition for what they do.

“I want it to be visible because they work really hard and they deserve a little pat on the back for what they do,” Ockey said.

The department has also planted new trees throughout campus, in areas around the baseball diamond and the athletics center, an act Ockey said is important since the campus just joined Tree Campus U.S.A. and is known for its trees.

Carlos Alfaro, a sophomore art major, said he has always enjoyed the landscape at Sac State.

“One of my favorite things about campus are all the trees and nature,” Alfaro said. “It’s what drew me here. When I transferred here from Sac City, I was able to take a breath of fresh air instead of smoke.”

Ockey said all the changes are practical, but when they are beautiful and practical, that’s when they really shine.

“I’m glad people are noticing it,” Ockey said. “I hope it’s well received. This is a great university, and we need to act like we’re a great university and this is part of that.”

Scott Gephart, manager at the ticket office in the Athletic Center, said the area in front is now a lot nicer and more vibrant.

“The grass was dying off, and now we have some plants and hopefully some color upcoming,” Gephart said. “It’s a little more appealing for people when they come here and purchase tickets.”

Another change they made is to the bicycle compound, which has had improvements made to the irrigation system that had been damaged from the foot traffic on it.

“The sprinkler heads were getting broken so we put rocks in there and now we’ve capped it,” Ockey said. “So we no longer have to deal with the issue, wasted water (or) broken heads.”

Ockey said he hopes everyone notices the changes and they see that Facilities care about the university. He said ultimately what he wants is for students to feel good about the campus so when they get their degree and move on they can look back and they see Sac State as a great place and they had a great time here.

“We have a lot going for us,” Ockey said. “We are a jewel in the middle of the city. You have neighborhoods, railroad tracks, and then lo and behold, here is this park-like campus. I go to work and then when I get a chance to walk around at work, I’m like ‘wow,’ this is where I work. It’s kind of nice, it’s a beautiful environment – I want to preserve that as much as we can.”

Ockey said the changes should be completed in the next two or three weeks.