Versatile, reliable and speedy grounds reinforcements
The Campus Services regiment at Iowa State University enlists an arsenal of Bobcat equipment to help preserve the aesthetics of this sprawling 1,984-acre campus, promote the healthy growth of the more than 11,500 trees and shrubs that decorate the award-winning grounds.
Four dependable Bobcat utility vehicles complement a fleet of grounds maintenance equipment at Iowa State University.
From its prairie beginning more than 150 years ago, the Iowa State University (ISU) campus, located in Ames, Iowa (pop. 58,965 including 28,000-plus students), is home to landscaping of national acclaim. Maintaining and enhancing its beauty, while keeping campus residents safe, is a challenge.
Les Lawson, director of ISU Campus Services, enlisted in the grounds control operation 27 years ago. The now “commander-in-chief” oversees a flurry of daily duties for his crew of more than 50 dedicated maintenance and landscaping experts — and a battalion of Bobcat® equipment — all serving to efficiently maintain these spectacular grounds.
Utility vehicle reinforcements
After a mandatory reduction in grounds personnel, ISU brass approved an equipment requisition from Lawson for additional equipment, a quartet of Bobcat 3200 utility vehicles (UTVs). These four versatile and durable machines expanded the ISU fleet of Bobcat equipment to 11; joining two 2100 utility vehicles, two Toolcat™ 5600 utility work machines and three skid-steer loaders.
“The 3200 UTV is ideal for maintaining our large campus,” Lawson says. “We have six UTVs that help our staff perform so many different service: mowing, grading and dirt hauling … you name it. We also use these machines to transport crew members across this sprawling campus.”
The Campus Services team inspects the entire campus daily to ensure that aesthetics and safety are maintained. In spring and summer, lawn areas are mowed on a five-day rotation and fertilized on an annual basis. In fall, the trees would surely blanket the grounds with fallen leaves if not for assistance from the Bobcat equipment reinforcements.
During winter, outfitted with snow removal attachments — blades, brooms, buckets, etc. — Lawson’s collection of Bobcat vehicles are on the job, clearing the 162 acres of parking lots, 23 miles of institutional roads and 34 miles of sidewalks and bike paths.
“The comfort of our operators is an important factor,” Lawson says. “The UTVs are easy to operate and the staff really enjoys running them. The machines are also durable, which means we have very little downtime.”
“If it wasn’t for the machinery and all the attachments that make the many Bobcat models we have so versatile, there is no way we could physically keep up,” Lawson says. “After the staff reductions we’ve had to look for ways we could compensate with the machinery. We find more and more ways to utilize the equipment every year and are able to do our jobs with less physical labor. Bobcat equipment has allowed us to work faster and more efficiently and has been a good investment for ISU.”