Facilities and Grounds: Thinking Outside the Box

Picture this: litter on the street, overgrown grass, barren and broken parks.

Our Facilities and Grounds team works hard to make sure this never happens.

It’s easy to forget about the hard work that goes into making our city beautiful. When everything is running smoothly you don’t think about the alternative. The unsung heroes of South Bend, F&G regularly goes above and beyond to turn basic projects into creative works of art.

What’s the secret to success within the Facilities and Grounds? The person to ask was Nick Gaul, Manager of Operations for VPA Facilities and Grounds. He says the key to creativity is empowering employees to share their ideas.

Thinking outside the box is essential for Facilities and Grounds. Whether it be finding vendors with the best pricing, working with different products, or discovering a new angle on a project, F&G workers are always trying to go the extra mile.

Taking a different approach to doing the normal is something that we take a very serious look at,” Nick states.

With this go-getter attitude comes remarkable projects such as the Rum Village Dog Park. Nick states its one the Facilities and Grounds are most proud of when it comes to their team work and creativity.

On a limited budget and a time crunch, the Rum Village Dog Park seemed to be running against the odds. Enter F&G, determined to create a great place for owners and their furbabies to bond, socialize, and – most importantly – have fun.

Eager to get started, our Grounds team started with the prep work for the soil and laid brand-new sod throughout the entire park. Talk about getting down and dirty!

Meanwhile, our Facilities team went to work building the various structures featured in the park. Dog houses made from scratch, sanded and stained. A pergola to provide shelter and shade. A retaining wall following the sidewalk all the way to the parking lot.

Completed on time, the Rum Village Dog Park is now a destination for all pet owners!

So, what amazing things can we expect in the future from Facilities and Grounds?

In the spring alone there are a multitude of projects. Nine playground upgrades are in progress, including new equipment that makes the playgrounds accessible to all. Outdoor restrooms are being improved to be ADA-standard compliant. Brand new front doors will be installed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. Twenty-four new tee markers and signs are going up in the Rum Village Disc Golf course.

These projects as well as daily work orders and maintenance always keep the Facilities and Grounds team on the go. Next time you’re out enjoying the parks in our community, take a second and remember the workers who make this all possible.

We hope to see you out!