One of the most common things you’ll probably see the Grounds Crew doing is mowing District lawns. The total area of land they mow in the District equals 12 million square feet - the equivalent of 223 football fields! However, the Grounds Crew is responsible for much more around the District than just mowing. They are also responsible for all of the maintenance of smaller equipment, snow plowing, and general grounds care. Much of the equipment maintained by the Grounds Crew consists of weed eaters, push lawn mowers, riding lawn mowers, snow blowers, and more.
Plowing the snow from school parking lots takes some of the most time, especially after including ice removal and spreading sand on the pavement. The Grounds Crew snow plows more than 46 acres of pavement, which must also be spread with sand or salt to prevent ice accumulation and slippery conditions. Then, the crew immediately begins plowing 13 acres of asphalt on school playgrounds. In the winter, it’s not uncommon for work days to consist of 15-18 straight hours of plowing snow, only to do it all over again in another 6-8 hours.
Through the rest of the year, the Grounds Crew can be seen mowing lawns and trimming trees. There are more than 600 trees to be trimmed and cared for across the District! Some schools possess limestone walking trails, which the Grounds Crew also maintains, making sure the trails are clear and clean for students and community members to enjoy.
As playgrounds become old, the Grounds Crew helps to replace them by removing the old sets so the new equipment can be installed. The newest playground in the District is at Grant Wood Elementary. Playground wood chip and sand replacement and refill are also important duties of the Grounds Crew.
The Grounds Crew defers the painting and chalking of athletic fields to the respective school’s Custodial Staff, but they do fertilize, groom, and aerate more than 20 athletic fields around the District. Most of the running tracks are made of brick dust, but there are some comprised of gravel. The tracks, which can be found at middle schools, are drug annually and rolled out so they are even to run on.
One of the highest priorities for the Grounds Crew is the maintenance of Kingston Stadium. Kingston Stadium went into service for Cedar Rapids public schools in 1952, and was updated to artificial turf in 2009. The stadium seats 10,000 spectators, and has a large scoreboard and video board that was added in August 2016. Kingston Stadium has welcomed professional football teams in its past, and has also been the home football stadium for students who would later become celebrities themselves. The Grounds Crew is in charge of the Stadium’s upkeep, and for cleaning the stadium after home football games, soccer matches, and track meets.