Facilities Management Taking Steps to Maintain Campus Safety for All, Sept. 9, 2008

By Rogir Renteria

SOCORRO, N.M., Sept. 9, 2008 – New Mexico Tech's Facilities Management is taking a proactive approach to keeping students, staff, and faculty safe while keeping our campus green. Throughout the year, Facilities Management will be removing trees that may become a hazard to pedestrians and to nearby buildings. At the same time, they have been aggressively adding new trees when possible.

Karyn DeBont, Tech's Grounds Manager, said some older trees are scheduled to be removed. James Freeman, a retired urban forester for the State of New Mexico and professional arborist, surveyed 205 of the oldest trees on the main campus in late May. He recommended that 25 be removed due to potential decay; seven of those trees needed removal "urgently."

DeBont said that five of the seven were removed safely. Freeman’s survey included trees located between Campus Drive and Bullock Street.

DeBont said Facilities Management has kept trees healthy by pruning them. Additionally, they are planting new trees in recently landscaped areas surrounding Cramer Hall and Fidel Center.

"We are trying to create a diverse arrangement of tree types and ages on campus," said DeBont.

She says that keeping a cycle of new and old, and short and tall trees makes for a wide variety of campus landscapes. DeBont also is looking into new types of trees that are suited for the high desert climate to plant. She is considering diversifying the trees by adding more evergreens, cottonwoods, elms and mulberries, Chinese pistache, and hackberry.

DeBont asked that all students, faculty, and staff observe and respect the warning tape, fences, orange cones and construction vehicles when Facilities Management or a contractor is performing work on campus.

“It would be a great help to keep our workers safe, and even safer, our students,” said Debont.

– NMT –