Walking around campus, we tread on the picture-perfect grass and clean walkways, and passes right by the freshly-planted trees and flowers in full bloom. For all of this, there is a special group of people to thank, a crew that works night and day making what some take for granted look so completely flawless. This amazing squad is known as the Grounds Crew.
James Antone, Daniel Brooks, Raymond Burniske, Denise Dwelley, Jeffrey Gonyer, Charlie Marsh, Joe Portyala, J.J. Tanguay, Jodi Tanguay, Jimmy Thompson, Katie Salinetti, Chris Stacy, Denny Stowe, and Head of Grounds Crew Brett Gewanter make up the hardworking team of fourteen.
The busiest season for the grounds crew is spring. Not only do they have to clean up all the damage from winter and prepare the athletic fields for another season of play, but also the late spring brings commencement, as well as the multitude of alumni weekends and benefits. Some of the spring tasks the grounds crew completes include cleaning and mulching the flowerbeds, sweeping the roadsides, and cleaning up plow damage. Luckily enough, the campus already contains many established perennials, so most of the planting is with annuals during the last few weeks before graduation. Each member works on a different part of the grounds to make Deerfield the beautiful campus it is.
Grounds person J.J. Tanguay commented that her favorite part of taking care of the grounds is “the variety of the work,” and her sister Jodi, who also works on the grounds crew, exclaimed that she “loves everything about her job” and that “being outside is rewarding no matter what.”
Grounds crew is known for its many trademarks, including the geranium boxes under the commencement tents and the flower barrels around campus.
Deerfield grass is another highly-maintained trademark. The grass needs to be mowed at least once a week if not more often and is over-seeded at the beginning of the spring season to give it its bright green color and thickness. The grassy athletic fields require more work, with one to two members of the crew working on the fields every day and repainting the lines every two weeks.
When asked about the grounds crew, Kay Calloway ’14 exclaimed, “They are so helpful and it’s really amazing how much they help the school. It’s like the flowers bloom over night here!”
So next time you spot a member of the grounds crew working on campus or walking down Albany Road, thank them heartily for all the hard work they do to keep the school running and the campus looking spectacular.