Several lawns on campus to be replaced with plants

Melissa Simon

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CSUN’s Physical Plant Management is in the process of replacing certain lawns with native plants to reduce the cost of water and maintenance.

James Sutton, director of facility services at Physical Plant Management, said these specific lawn areas, or parkways, are being renovated because they are “low-use and high maintenance.”

“This renovation project is an experimental project in the very beginning stages,” Sutton said. “What we’re looking at doing in these areas is putting in drought-tolerant plants that are native to the region along with some rocks and things like that to save money on water and labor.”

Sutton said the estimated cost for the project is between $5,000 and $6,000 including material and labor. Physical Plant Management’s total yearly budget is $631,000 to cover the costs of plants, trees, lawns, water usage and even some storage costs, Sutton said.

Bill Sullivan, manager of energy and utilities for Physical Plant Management, said the exact amount of water use on the lawns is difficult to pinpoint because some of the water comes from an irrigation system.

Sutton said the renovations could save money in several areas.

“With these renovations, PPM will water with less frequency, every nine to 12 days instead of every three to five days,” he said. “(We will) use less fuel (because there will be) no mower use, no equipment maintenance costs, no edging or weed whipping and general labor maintenance costs are dramatically reduced.”

The experimental area is located at Plummer and Etiwanda, close to Physical Plant Management. Depending on the outcome of the project, Sutton said they might try this in other areas on campus.

“Ultimately, these renovations allow us to focus our maintenance efforts elsewhere on campus and reduce our carbon footprint while still providing a visual aesthetic in areas that would otherwise never be used by CSUN students, faculty, staff or even visitors,” Sutton said.