click to viewStarkville-MSU transit named ‘System of the Year’
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit –also known as S.M.A.R.T. – is being recognized as Transportation System of the Year by the Mississippi Public Transit Association.
The state award cites the S.M.A.R.T. system for excellence and “for your efforts in working with local officials in removing isolation barriers to education, employment, medical and recreational services by providing safe, affordable and accessible mobility options for residents in your service area.”
S.M.A.R.T. is a free community bus transit system connecting the Mississippi State campus with Starkville’s residential and commercial hubs. A Mississippi Department of Transportation grant enabled the university to partner with the local community and expand the traditional campus shuttle system to include new campus-community routes.
Vice President for Campus Services Amy Tuck said since the system launched in January 2014, officials have made adjustments and expansions to best serve the university and local community.
“This recognition is very gratifying to all who have been a part of taking a very good system and continuously looking for ways to improve our services,” Tuck said.
Jeremiah Dumas, MSU director of parking, transit and sustainability, said the S.M.A.R.T. system had its one-millionth rider in July 2015. He said 25 percent of those who utilize the system are based in the community, with the most riders on campus utilizing the Greek route. The central route is the second busiest.
Beginning Jan. 4, 2016, a new route from Starkville to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport will be added.
Dumas emphasized that the S.M.A.R.T. buses operate year-round and are only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Many MSU students and local residents rely on the transportation to get to critical destinations, like work, grocery stores and health care, he said.
“When you see the reliance on the S.M.A.R.T. system and know that we’re impacting people’s quality of life in the community, that’s when you know you’re making a difference,” Dumas said.
For more information, visit www.smart.msstate.edu or contact Dumas at email@example.com or call 662-315-5204.
Contact: Allison Matthews
December 17, 2015
(Photo by Russ Houston)
A trolley-style bus is part of the transportation fleet that makes up the Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit, also known as S.M.A.R.T. system. S.M.A.R.T. is being recognized as Transportation System of the Year by the Mississippi Public Transit Association.
click to viewScott Field wins national turf award
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s achievements on the football field have once again risen to a top national ranking – with the latest honor recognizing the grounds crew that has bolstered the quality of Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium to perennial national prominence.
The Sports Turf Managers Association is recognizing Scott Field as the Football Field of the Year for colleges and universities with natural playing surfaces. A panel of 15 judges independently scored entries based on playability, surface appearance, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program.
For winning, MSU’s Sports Turf Facilities Management team will be honored at the STMA annual awards banquet Jan. 22 in San Diego, California, and Scott Field will be featured in SportsTurf Magazine.
“It is an honor to be recognized nationally by this organization, and it is a credit to those who work diligently to keep Scott Field in such impeccable quality,” said Vice President for Campus Services Amy Tuck. “Their work and attention to detail means so much to the entire university family and everyone who enjoys seeing the Bulldogs play.”
Scott Field, which also won the award in 2003, is one of two university fields to earn the honor twice, along with the field at Iowa State.
“This is a driving force that we shoot for every year,” said Brandon Hardin, superintendent for Sports Turf Facilities Management at MSU. “It’s a fantastic honor, and it’s been a goal of mine since I started here to win this again. The athletics and campus landscape departments have shown a commitment to giving us what we need to produce these kinds of awards.”
Hardin joined the Sports Turf Facilities Management staff as a student intern in 2003 and returned as assistant superintendent in 2008. Last year, he was promoted to superintendent, leading a staff of one assistant and six student workers to manage all the university’s natural athletic playing surfaces. He will accept the award next month on behalf of MSU.
All the university’s athletes play on Bermuda-based surfaces, Hardin said, with his crew over-seeding with rye grass in the fall. That keeps the fields green during cold weather when Bermuda grass is dormant, and it saves hundreds of thousands of dollars per year compared to annually ripping out the old grass and re-sodding.
Hardin said his crew mows Scott Field every day during the summer and about three times per week during football season. It uses an average of more than 300 gallons of paint per week for field striping, which is virtually a year-round project, he added.
Since 1992, STMA’s Field of the Year award has honored members who manage a variety of sporting grounds at the professional, collegiate, schools (K-12), and parks and recreation levels.
“Each year, we look forward to hand-picking the best natural grass athletic surfaces in the country through the Field of the Year award,” Kim Heck, CEO of STMA, said on the organization’s website. “With a record number of applicants in 2015, the selection process has become more vigorous, which serves as a testament to the high-quality fields our 2,600-plus members produce across the U.S.”
MSU recently received another national award for excellence in general groundskeeping from the Professional Grounds Management Society.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.
December 9, 2015
Contact: Zack Plair
Photo by Hunter Hart
click to viewMSU receives national recognition for grounds maintenance
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is celebrating a national award for outstanding groundskeeping.
The Professional Grounds Management Society, a Baltimore, Maryland-based organization, recently selected the land-grant institution for an Honor Award in the university and college grounds category of its 2015 Green Star Awards competition.
MSU is among 19 U.S. institutions of higher learning being praised for exceptional grounds maintenance. The complete list is found at www.pgms.org/2015-green-star-award-winners.
Speaking for the university administration, Vice President for Campus Services Amy Tuck expressed pride in the campus landscape team’s achievement.
“They work diligently to keep MSU beautiful,” she said. “It is an honor for Mississippi State University to be recognized nationally for excellence in grounds maintenance,” Tuck added.
Bart Prather accepted Mississippi State’s award during the society’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. Associate director of campus landscape, he is an agronomy graduate of the university.
“This award goes to those who work for MSU Campus Landscape, and the Campus Services division as a whole,” Prather said. “It is through their hard work and dedication that this award was even possible.”
Each year, MSU plants 80-100 new trees and more than 50,000 daffodils and other color plants. The Campus Landscape staff maintains nearly 1,500 acres of the Starkville campus.
MSU Campus Landscape staff are pictured with administrators congratulating them for national recognition by the Professional Grounds Management Society. MSU President Keenum (front left) receives a plaque from Bart Prather, associate director of campus landscape. Also pictured are (second row) Amy Tuck, vice president for campus services and George Davis, executive director for campus services; (third row) Victor Fulton, Randolph Calmes, Jimmy Colvin, Melvin Turnipseed, Dashun Blair, Alex Miller; (fourth row) John Rice, James Blair, Willie Neely, Shawn Higgins, Sammy Vaughn, Brandon Hardin; (fifth row) Johnnie Turnipseed, Jimmy Rice, Ivan Harris, Will Lawrence, John Copeland, Dan Whatley; (sixth row) Robert Sawyer, Zeb Rice, Edwin Lindsey, Anthony Johnson, Frank Fulton, Jerry Outlaw and Joey Boutwell. Not pictured are Scott Bolton and Perry Sellars. (Photo by Russ Houston)
click to viewCampus inaugurates tree trail at Friday event
During a Friday [Oct. 23] public program near the Moon Sycamore at the Junction, MSU will announce its Campus Tree Trail to showcase and increase knowledge of campus landscape efforts. (Photo by Russ Houston)
As part of the 2015 National NeighborWoods® Month observation, Mississippi State is establishing a Campus Tree Trail to help showcase its vast campus landscaping efforts.
During a 3:30 p.m. Friday [Oct. 23] program open to all at the Junction’s far west end, university officials formally will announce the new tree identification trail, including a virtual trail to be published on the MSU website. The location is the site of the Moon Sycamore grown from a seed taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.
MSU is home to more than 10,000 tree species and varieties. Each year, the 137-year-old land-grant institution plants 80-100 new ones—along with more than 50,000 daffodils and other color plants—on the nearly 1,500 maintained acres of its Starkville campus.
Over the years, more than 150 of these trees have been placed as memorials to deceased students.
To create the trail, MSU students and staff will use global positioning system equipment to record each tree along the trail. Informational plaques will be displayed at each site.
The project is made possible through a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation that recognized MSU in February as a Tree Campus USA. For more, visit www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa/index-about.cfm.
Celebrated each October, National NeighborWoods® Month is a campaign involving tens of thousands of volunteers that plant and care for community trees to help make their communities greener and healthier. For more, see www.neighborwoodsmonth.org.
For more on Campus Tree Trail or the dedication event, contact Jason Gordon, MSU Extension assistant professor at the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. Gordon, also chair of the Campus Tree Advisory Committee, may be reached at 662-325-8851 or Jg966@msstate.edu.
Bart Prather, associate director of campus landscape, may be contacted at 662-325-2499 or BPrather@campuslandscape.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.
October 20, 2015
Contact: Sasha Steinberg
click to viewParking and transit changes in place for fall
August 14, 2015
MSU Parking and Transit Services is excited about the upcoming academic year and would like to welcome everyone back to campus. A few parking and transit changes have occurred over the summer.
Creelman St. and President Circle access-
In an effort to increase pedestrian safety and in accordance with the Mississippi State University Master Plan, on Monday [Aug. 17], Creelman St. and President Circle will be closed to through traffic between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The McCarthy Gym and Allen East gated lots will be open for access for those with privileges to those parking lots. For those with McCarthy or Allen gated permits, parking gates are currently being installed on Creelman St. just east of Tracy Dr. and on President Circle north of Bully Blvd. The old parking gates at the entrances to the McCarthy and Allen West lots will be removed.
Between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., access into the Lloyd Ricks and Bell Island parking areas will only be from west Creelman Street via Stone Blvd.
Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit expands service area-
In July, Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit (SMART) carried its one millionth passenger. During the same time, the system expanded in an effort to increase efficiency and enlarge the service area.
Routes not only connect campus to downtown Starkville and the Sportsplex, but there is now a Highway 12 route with direct access to The Mill at MSU terminating at Wal-Mart with stops at many of the retail areas along Highway 12.
The trolleys on the Old Main Express now also service the Historic Greensboro District and Patriots Park along the Avenue of Patriots. Many more exciting changes have occurred and for more information and live tracking of the buses, please visit www.smart.msstate.edu.
Parking and Transit Services is here to serve you. If you are ever in need of parking or event assistance, please call Parking Services at 325-3526 or visit www.parkingservices.msstate.edu.
For help or for information about transit services or SMART, please call 662-325-5204 or visit www.smart.msstate.edu.
click to viewHardy Rd. traffic re-route now in place
Hardy Rd. from Etheredge Hall south to Morrill Rd. on Mississippi State's campus will be rerouted through December 2016 while an addition to Mitchell Memorial Library is under construction. During this time, all traffic will be rerouted around Herbert St. and re-enter Hardy Rd. as shown in the accompanying map.
As part of the long-term reroute, two parking lots will be separated by a gated barrier in order to move traffic along the rerouted Hardy Rd. from the lot beside Herbert Hall. This change will facilitate a more consistent traffic flow during construction. The lower lot behind McKee Hall will be directed back onto Lee Blvd. by the Roberts Building. No through traffic will be allowed. (See more at www.msstate.edu/web/media/announcement.php?id=2574.)
Students, faculty, staff and visitors are advised to plan their daily commutes accordingly, as drivers may experience a few additional minutes of driving time during those commutes.
Please exercise caution when driving around all construction projects. Thank you for your cooperation.
click to viewTuck named MCSW Ambassador of the Year
Mississippi State's vice president for campus services has been named the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women's 2015 Ambassador of the Year.
Amy Tuck, along with nominees from other state institutions, was formally honored May 7 at the Jackson-based organization's annual Woman of the Year luncheon.
The annual celebration recognizes Magnolia State women leaders for their contributions in a broad range of categories, including art/entertainment/performing arts, business/industry, community service, education, legal/judicial, medical/healthcare, military/law enforcement, and political/state or local government service.
Established by the Mississippi Legislature in 2001, the commission seeks to "improve the overall quality of life of women, specifically in the areas of education, health, economics, political participation, and race relations."
"Assessing and influencing policies and practices that affect women through an inclusive, collaborative process" is its primary mission.
Vice president of campus services since 2012, Tuck is responsible for providing vision and strategic leadership in overseeing campus landscape, facilities maintenance and repair, utilities production and distributions, faculty and staff housing, sustainability, as well as campus planning, design and construction.
In addition to serving as chairman of the Special Events and Game Day Operations committee and as a member of the Community Engagement committee, Tuck is president and director of the university's Educational Building Corporation and member of the MSU Athletic Council. She also serves as the university's incident commander for the Crisis Action Team.
An Oktibbeha County native who began working at MSU in January 2008, she was a member of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, for which she previously served as chairman.
Tuck also has served as a member of the President's Commission on the Status of Women at MSU, where she received a 1985 bachelor's in political science and 1994 master's in public policy and administration. She also graduated with a 1989 law degree from Mississippi College.
As Mississippi's lieutenant governor, Tuck was a strong advocate for K-12 and higher education, economic development, healthcare, protection for senior citizens, public safety and civil justice reforms.
Only the second woman to hold the second-highest elected office in the state's 198-year history, she also served as a state senator from 1990-1995 and was elected by the senators to serve as the secretary of the Mississippi State Senate from 1996-99.
In 2009, the Mississippi Business Journal recognized Tuck as one of Mississippi's 50 leading business women, and in 2008, she was appointed by then-U.S. President George W. Bush to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships.
"I am very honored and humbled to have been chosen as the 2015 Ambassador of the Year for the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women. There are so many outstanding women leaders in our state, and it is extra special to be lifted up by your peers," Tuck said in expressing appreciation for the award and commission itself.
Learn more about the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women at www.msstatusofwomen.org.
Discover more about Mississippi's flagship research university at www.msstate.edu or www.meridian.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, pinterest.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate using the hashtag #WeRingTrue.
Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs
click to viewOur People Profile: Tim Muzzi
He wasn't even thinking about leaving his job as a principal at one of Mississippi's largest architectural firms when he got a call encouraging him to apply for the position of construction administrator at Mississippi State University.
"I thought, 'what a great opportunity, but do I really want to do this?' I was missing family activities; I was always dealing with a lawsuit or in an attorney's office; I was on the road constantly, so I discussed the possibility with my family and decided that I would apply for the position," remembers University Architect Michael T. "Tim" Muzzi, AIA, AU. "Several weeks after my interview, I was hunting—sitting in a tree stand—and Mississippi State called to make me an offer.
"I've loved being here ever since."
The Shaw native graduated with Mississippi State's second class of School of Architecture majors. Following completion of the school's required fifth year of academic study in Jackson, he began a professional career in 1979 that would continue in the state's capital city for 25 years. He returned to Starkville in February 2004.
"I'm happy; Mississippi State is a wonderful place to be," he says. "I've got three grandchildren, and there's always something for my wife, Janice, and me to do here. I get to work at a place where most people want to retire."
In addition to responsibilities as the university architect, Muzzi is the interim director of MSU Campus Services' planning, design and construction administration. In other words, he leads the department responsible for every campus design and construction project, from the replacement of doors to the renovation of existing buildings, as well as the construction of new facilities at both the Starkville and Meridian campuses.
Muzzi's been involved with some of the largest projects at MSU in recent history. Along with the renovation of historic Lee Hall, he led renewal and modernization efforts at Colvard Student Union, Davis Wade Stadium, the Riley Center in Meridian, and Harned, McCool and Middleton halls.
Managing design and construction of new facilities is another of his responsibilities. At present, Muzzi's team is supervising the development of the Fresh Food Company dining facility, the new residence halls and the massive new classroom-parking facility filling in the valley—formerly a sledding hot-spot on snow days—behind the YMCA Building.
His team is also managing the design for the renovation of the YMCA, the Robert's Building and the addition to Mitchell Memorial Library.
Muzzi was instrumental in coming up with the concept of creating the Junction, MSU's popular tailgating area outside Davis Wade Stadium. Before it was a green space enjoyed by thousands of football fans, five major streets intersected in that same space, and traffic flow was so frustrating that students, faculty and athletic fans called it "Malfunction Junction."
He recalls how he and Ray Hayes, then vice president for finance and administration, were having lunch in the old Union before its 2006-08 renovation.
"Ray asked me how we can get rid of Malfunction Junction. So we literally took several napkins and drew in the streets with relation to Davis Wade stadium, Lloyd-Ricks-Watson Building and Dorman Hall. By closing off several of the streets and rerouting others we were able to create a large green space on the south side of Davis Wade Stadium."
The green space became The Junction, and the rest, so to speak, is history.
Muzzi credits the strong leadership of university administrators, especially current MSU President Mark E. Keenum, for the vision and determination to ensure campus buildings meet the highest standards.
"In everything we do, my team's No. 1 priority is the health, safety and welfare of the students," Muzzi says. "Being here and doing what I get to do—I love it."
Writer: Leah Barbour | Photo: Beth Wynn
click to viewMSU celebrates Tree Campus USA designation with Arbor Day observance
STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State officials, along with members of the university's student chapter of the Society of American Foresters and the Campus Tree Advisory Committee, gathered today [Feb. 13] in the Junction to celebrate the land-grant institution's Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation.
"I am so proud that we are a tree campus and we're being recognized as such," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum during his opening remarks. "Trees make places special. You can just look around this campus and realize how special trees are to Mississippi State University, where we have more than 10,000 trees of many different species and varieties."
Keenum said the university plants between 80 to 100 new trees on the Starkville campus every year.
"Trees are important, and we should recognize and appreciate their contributions to our lives. As human beings, we can't live without trees," he said.
This past year, the value of timber alone for the Magnolia State was about $1.2 billion, Keenum said.
"When you factor in all the products that we manufacture and produce here in Mississippi using wood products, that number balloons to more than $10 billion," he said, adding that the timber industry provides more than 60,000 jobs for Mississippians.
"We're blessed as Mississippians with an abundance of trees that we all can enjoy. Nearly two-thirds of all the land in our state is in forest land, which amounts to more than 20 million acres."
In thanking the university's campus landscape staff, Campus Tree Advisory Committee and College of Forest Resources students, faculty and staff for their contributions to university conservation efforts, Keenum highlighted a particularly meaningful use of campus trees.
"One thing that we do here at Mississippi State University that I think is really special is when a student passes away, we plant a tree to memorialize that student. We have more than 150 trees that are planted as memorials to students who have passed away. That's how much we value trees on our campus."
Todd Matthews, urban forestry coordinator with the Mississippi Forestry Commission, presented Keenum with a commemorative plaque from the Arbor Day Foundation noting the university's Tree Campus USA status.
The event concluded with the planting of a Nuttall oak tree in observance of Mississippi's Arbor Day, which is annually celebrated on the second Friday in February. National Arbor Day is April 24.
"The campus landscape is the first thing visitors and potential students see at Mississippi State," said Jason Gordon, assistant Extension professor in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center.
Gordon, chair of the Campus Tree Advisory Committee, is one of ten members who study, plan and coordinate campus tree plantings and maintenance. The committee consists of three Extension personnel, two teaching faculty, two members of MSU's Campus Landscape and Facilities Management Departments and three forestry students, one of whom holds the vice-chair position.
Administered by the Arbor Day Foundation since 2009, the Tree Campus USA program annually honors two-year and four-year accredited colleges and universities that uphold five core standards, including evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated funding for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and sponsorship of student service-learning projects. For more, see www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa/.
A total of 48 hard-working employees--32 full-time and 16 temporary--are responsible for conserving the more than 10,000 trees on the 1,500 maintained acres of the Starkville campus, according to the university's associate director of campus landscape.
"That includes turf and ornamental maintenance, tree maintenance, irrigation in beds and turf with over 100 systems campus-wide, pest and nuisance control, as well as maintenance and preparation of all MSU's athletic fields," said Bart Prather.
"We also plant more than 50,000 color plants in our beds each year, as well as maintain all of the turf in these areas. We have a great variety of native trees ranging from magnolias to oaks to cedars and numerous others that are either native to the area or are ornamental in nature and provide great landscaping benefits in our area," he added.
As part of the service-learning project component required by the Tree Campus USA program, student-volunteers are actively working each semester to develop a campus tree inventory and also plant trees to celebrate Arbor Day.
"Around 20 to 40 students typically contribute to these events," Gordon explained. "Most of them are forestry and landscape architecture students, but we also have ones who come from other areas of campus such as sociology, business and geosciences."
When selecting new trees, Prather said his team consults the Campus Master Planting Plan, which advises that "new tree, shrub and groundcover plantings should consist of species that are native and/or 'hardy adaptive' to Starkville and suited to the various habitat conditions found on the campus."
"From the floral side, we are trying to go with as much maroon and white color in our annual beds to help show our school colors on our campus in a natural way," he said.
Gordon added that the university campus also boasts a broad distribution of tree age classes, which ranges "from very old trees near Bost Extension Center and the Drill Field to a number of young trees planted near new construction."
"The number of trees being planted has increased during the last several years in coordination with the Campus Master Plan," he added.
Prather said his team is currently working with a grower to produce offspring of the 'Moon Sycamore' tree located at the very far west end of Junction.
"It was grown from a seed that was taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, and we would like to incorporate more of the offspring back here on campus."
For additional information about the university's campus landscape efforts, contact Prather at 662-325-2499 or BPrather@campuslandscape.msstate.edu.
Parking Operations relocating to YMCA Building
December 10, 2014
Parking Operations at Mississippi State is moving from its current location at the Roberts Building to the second floor of the YMCA Building above the Post Office on Monday [Dec. 15] and Tuesday [Dec. 16].
The new office location will be open for business on Wednesday [Dec. 17].
Currently, the YMCA Building does not have an elevator, but a call box is located at the bottom of the stairs for patrons to contact Parking Operations staff for assistance.
Please call 662-325-3526 with any questions.
click to viewEvans Hall Demolition Construction Site
On Monday August 18, 2014, parking areas South and North of Evans Hall will be closed by a construction fence, in preparation for the upcoming demolition project. This closure is expected to remain in place until August 2016. Please review the image for the exact location of the closure.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation. If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact Facilities Management at 662-325-5830.
click to viewWORKING TOGETHER
Mississippi State landscape architecture students are working with MSU Facilities Management to build a courtyard adjacent to the Landscape Architecture Building on the south side of campus. Cory Gallo, assistant professor, and Brian Templeton, Extension associate, are working together to teach the design/build landscape architecture course. Students presented their plans to university officials, including George Davis, executive director of Campus Services; Roger Baker, campus master planner; and Tim Muzzi, associate director of architectural planning and construction. The courtyard, to be completed in about two years, will feature a stormwater planter that looks like a garden and provides seating.
May 05, 2014 | Photo by: Beth Wynn
click to viewSMART TRANSPORTATION
University officials, along with city and state leaders, celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system on Monday. The free campus-community routes already attract more than 5,000 riders each day. From left are Director of Parking, Transit and Sustainability Jeremiah Dumas; Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert; MSU President Mark E. Keenum; Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman; and Manager of Shuttle Operations Jeanette Bailey.
click to viewNational org names MSU a Tree Campus USA
Mississippi State University and its leaders earned national recognition recently for promoting and maintaining healthy trees and inspiring faculty, staff, students and community members to conserve.
The Arbor Day Foundation named the university a Tree Campus USA. The program honors campuses that implement proper urban forestry management principles and promote environmental stewardship.
"We are a land-grant university, and this honor is really representative of our purpose to educate the people of our state about good stewardship of our natural resources," said Jason Gordon, assistant Extension professor in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center and chair of the Campus Tree Advisory Committee.
Gordon is one of 10 committee members who study, plan and coordinate campus tree planting and maintenance. The committee consists of three Extension personnel, two teaching faculty, two members of MSU's Campus Landscape and Facilities Management Departments and three forestry students, one of whom holds the vice-chair position.
"A lot of time, money and effort goes into the campus landscape, and it is really great to be recognized for the hard work that it takes to maintain our beautiful campus," Gordon said. "Our trees and other landscape features help make people proud to work and study here and be members of the university community. We also want visitors to be wowed when they come to campus."
Universities and colleges apply for recognition through the Arbor Day Foundation. They must meet five core standards to qualify for the designation, including evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated funding for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
MSU will receive official recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation during the Mississippi Urban Forest Council conference in October. Gordon said the committee plans to hold a small ceremony in April to recognize the efforts of the three student committee members who will graduate in May.
Delta State University, the University of Southern Mississippi and Jackson State University are also Tree Campus USA universities.
For more information about Tree Campus USA, visit www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa.
Susan Collins-Smith | MSU Ag Communications
click to viewMississippi State named top recycling institution
Officials from the Mississippi Recycling Coalition were at Mississippi State Tuesday [Jan. 14] to present the university with the "Educational Institution Recycler of the Year" award.
The organization recently named its 2013 Environmental Award winners, honoring cities, institutions and organizations statewide for outstanding recycling projects.
Jeremiah Dumas, MSU associate director of the Office of Sustainability, said recycling and sustainability efforts on campus are the product of extensive research and trials over the past three years. Upon discovering that more than 90 percent of waste in offices on campus was comprised of recyclable materials, initiatives were set in motion to establish the campus-wide program.
Led by the Office of Sustainability and the Campus Sustainability Committee, the program collects paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and aluminum in buildings throughout campus. Drives to recycle toner cartridges, used oil, batteries and electronics also are in place.
Dumas said offices produce the biggest bulk of recycling materials, so trash cans in offices throughout campus were converted to single-stream recycling receptacles.
Mark Williams, who works with solid waste policy planning and grants with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and also serves as an advisor to the board of directors for the Mississippi Recycling Coalition, said that every community throughout the state must have a waste reduction strategy, and every state agency and college campus is required to have a recycling program.
"Mississippi State's program is the kind of model we want to replicate throughout the state," Williams said, adding that not only does the recycling program divert reusable materials from landfills, but also creates jobs.
Sarah Kountouris, executive director for Keep Mississippi Beautiful and president of the board of directors for the Mississippi Recycling Coalition, said MSU has set a standard for other universities and community colleges to follow. She thanked custodial and landscape staff on hand for their work in bringing the program to life.
"They're the ones who make this program work," Kountouris said.
The university collected 306,628 pounds of recyclables over a nine-month period in the 2011 fiscal year. In the following fiscal year, the collection grew to 613,672 pounds, nearly 51,139 pounds per month. Additionally, Dumas said researchers are continually evaluating the effectiveness of the programs and waste reduction practices on campus.
For more information on sustainability efforts at MSU, visit http://www.sustainability.msstate.edu/.
click to viewUniversity implements lighting control project
Mississippi State University is adding another component to its sustainable campus initiative.
MSU has partnered with SmartWatt Energy to implement a large-scale energy efficient lighting and lighting control project, commonly referred to as SmartLighting.
The project will remove more than 14,000 outdated T-12 and HID lamps throughout the campus and replace them with high-efficiency lighting and lighting controls technologies, which will allow the lighting to be automatically turned off when not in use.
MSU's goals are to improve interior lighting quality, while reducing energy consumption across facilities. The project will decrease air pollution and environmental damage, and will have the same effect on the environment as planting 866 acres of trees or removing 558 cars from the road each year.
SmartWatt provided an investment-grade lighting audit of campus facilities to prioritize the project rollout. The campus will upgrade up to eight total buildings, which account for approximately one million square feet of space.
Average annual energy savings are anticipated to be nearly $400,000, with annual maintenance savings projected to be more than $80,000. The entire $3.5-million phase one project is self-funded and financed by the university through costs savings achieved from the improvements.
For more information about SmartWatt, visit www.smartwattinc.com.
Sid Salter | Public Affairs
click to viewFIXIT STATION
Heith Fox and Douglas Dumas of Facilities Management put the finishing touches on the Fixit bicycle station outside of Oak Hall. The Fixit includes all the tools needed to perform basic bicycle repairs and maintenance, including changing a flat tire and adjusting brakes. A second Fixit station is located near Ruby Hall.
Sep 05, 2013 | Photo by: Russ Houston
click to viewMSU receives national recognition for improved energy efficiency
STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State is being honored by a national publication for its facility maintenance decisions resulting in more than $20 million in savings over seven years from decreased energy consumption.
In the just-published August edition, Facility Maintenance Decisions magazine announced winners of its annual Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Awards. The university is among eight public and private organizations receiving top honors in the 2013 competition.
In the competition's renovations and retrofit category, MSU shares honors with the Florida-based Orlando Health hospital network.
This year's award winners will be recognized officially Sept. 18 during the National Facilities Management and Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.
J.D. Hardy, associate director of utilities in MSU's campus services organization, said the land-grant institution is being recognized for its major sustainability and energy efficiency efforts.
"Our department has been focused on energy efficiency for a number of years," he said. "In 2006, the university administration responded to spiking energy bills by commissioning an energy committee with the task of more efficient resource utilization."
Hardy said Campus Services staff members "led the way by identifying a broad array of facility upgrades and retrofits aimed at improving energy efficiency, performance and reliability, while at the same time lowering ongoing operational costs."
"This reduction in energy intensity accounts for more than $23 million in avoided utility expenses," he noted, adding that the focus on efficiency has resulted in a 48 percent drop in energy consumption per student, even as enrollment has grown by thousands.
Putting it another way, Hardy said the MSU Energy Management Program has yielded "a 37 percent drop in energy consumption per square foot" on the Starkville campus over the past seven years.
In keeping with Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum's 2009 Climate Commitment, Campus Services additionally developed a climate action plan that has been adopted as part of the university's overall strategic plan.
"The climate action plan establishes a road map that will lead MSU to carbon neutrality by 2042," Hardy said. "This road will not be easy, but the upcoming campus lighting and control upgrade, campus sustainability programs and central ice storage plant installation are just the next steps in a long-term goal to be the model of ultra-efficiency."
Formally known as Maintenance Solutions, the Wisconsin-based magazine that presents the achievement awards is the only U.S. publication written exclusively for professional engineering and maintenance managers at commercial and institutional facilities.
Other 2013 winners among institutions of higher learning are Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, University of Michigan and University of Pittsburg (Pa.) Medical Center. A complete list of winners may be viewed via the "Awards" icon at www.facebook.com/FMDmag.
"We had a record number of votes this year," said David Lubach, the magazine's associate editor. "This signals the fact that recognition is valued and important for maintenance and engineering departments."
News Bureau (662) 325-3442
Contact: Sammy McDavid
August 22, 2013
click to viewMSU sends personnel, equipment to aid USM
Mississippi State University Campus Operations and MSU Extension Service personnel prepare to depart Monday for the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg to assist in clean-up of the campus. USM's campus took a direct hit during a series of tornadoes across south Mississippi on Sunday, February 10.
Responding to a request for assistance from the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University sent MSU personnel and equipment to help in the clean-up of the USM campus after the Hattiesburg school took a direct hit from tornadoes that ravaged South Mississippi on Sunday [Feb. 10] afternoon. MSU Extension Service personnel have also been deployed.
After discussions with USM interim president Aubrey Lucas and Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds, MSU President Mark E. Keenum said 11 MSU Campus Operations personnel and two MSU staffers skilled in damage assessment departed the MSU Starkville campus shortly before 3 p.m. Keenum said the MSU personnel were equipped with chain saws, generators, a portable light tower, a truck and trailer, and fuel and maintenance supplies necessary to be “self-sufficient.”
After the widespread storms of April 27, 2011 leveled the town of Smithville and caused extensive damage in Chickasaw and Webster counties, MSU Extension personnel responded. MSU also provided assistance on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in the wake of that same series of storms.
click to viewMSU surpasses sustainability goals early, continues green initiatives
STARKVILLE, Miss.--Upgrading infrastructure and making operations more efficient are two key changes that have allowed Mississippi State University to reduce its energy consumption by 37 percent.
MSU's Sustainability Committee remains committed to continuing and growing that trend across campus, said J.D. Hardy, MSU energy and mechanical engineer for the committee.
Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning created the Energy Task Force in 2006 and set a goal, by 2016, for Mississippi universities to reduce their energy consumption by 30 percent per square foot. Hardy said MSU is already years ahead of schedule, thanks to the university-wide focus on incorporating infrastructure upgrades and encouraging more efficient building operation.
"For example, if you take a building that didn't have a very good means of controlling the energy consuming equipment -- like air conditioning systems or boiler systems -- and then install modern controls that allow an operator to 'program' a schedule for the operation of that equipment, it quickly reduces the energy consumption of the facility," Hardy said.
Continued renovations across campus also have played a big role in lowering campus energy consumption at MSU, he said. By replacing older water boilers and chillers with more efficient ones, the university is developing effective strategies for long-term savings. Additionally, new facilities at MSU are designed and constructed with the most efficient building systems available.
"We have very talented folks on campus who know how to add the right controls equipment and then operate buildings on a very efficient schedule," Hardy said.
In fiscal year 2006, campus electric and natural gas consumption totaled 162,000 British thermal units per square foot, he said, but the sustainability committee and its resource-efficiency plan has decreased MSU's Energy Usage Index to its current level: 102,000 Btu in 2012.
"If we had continued to use energy at the fiscal year 2006 levels from 2007 to 2012, we would have spent over $21 million more on electricity and natural gas, due to the higher rate of consumption," Hardy said. "Considering that campus grows in square footage every year and energy rates go up every year, it is increasingly important that we lower our Energy Usage Index as much as possible every year."
As university leaders look to future sustainability initiatives, consumption-reduction efforts will focus more on education through ECO PAW, a campus wide energy education and assessment program, said Jeremiah Dumas, director of the Office of Sustainability and vice president of the sustainability committee.
"With 5,000 faculty and staff and over 20,000 students, it is imperative that we educate all the people of this campus so that they can help us reach our goals with every decision that they make," he said. "This includes operations and daily decisions in their offices, their procurement guidelines and standards, as well as their travel and transit behaviors."
Hardy agreed and said the real challenge lies in changing people's habits, and correspondingly, that kind of change could make the greatest impact on reducing consumption across campus.
"The savings that can come from encouraging people to make the best energy decisions can easily have more impact at a much lower price tag than any type of equipment upgrade," he said. "If everyone turned their office equipment and lights off when they weren't using them, and if everyone raised the cooling set-point or lowered the heating set-point a couple of degrees, I imagine I would be getting a call from the power company wondering what was going on at MSU."
Along with continuing system upgrades, other continuing energy consumption-reduction initiatives include upgrading obsolete and inefficient lighting systems with longer lasting and more energy efficient systems and developing an "Ice Storage Plant" to produce ice at night during summer months to use to meet the campus's chilled water needs during the day, Hardy said.
"The administration has allowed facilities to spend money on upgrades with the understanding that it is a business decision with a very attractive return-on-investment," he said. "By funding these upgrades and by letting our MSU folks execute energy upgrade projects, we have leveraged our in-house resources to improve our facilities at the best possible value."
Hardy said, administrative support, as well as continued promotion of sustainability initiatives across campus, will allow MSU to continue its mission of reducing energy consumption.