Equipment operators create ‘Castle Berryhill’

Caitlin Saniga

Equipment operators from the grounds department have finished landscaping a new garden at the end of Midway Drive.

Rebekkah Berryhill, an equipment operator who played a major part in landscaping a corresponding garden, designed this garden to balance the landscaping along the sidewalk that runs from Midway Drive to Risman Plaza.

“When the one side was done, it looked like there was something missing on the other side,” said equipment operator Mike DeLeone.

Because Berryhill designed the area, the other equipment operators have jokingly dubbed it “Castle Berryhill.”

The new garden features a soil mound with stone stairs that lead up to a stone bench. A rock wall hugs the mound, and a variety of trees and shrubs dot the hill.

The finished product isn’t exactly what Berryhill had designed on paper, though.

“It evolved organically,” she said. “When you’re working with rocks, you kind of have to let that dictate the design.”

Stacking the rock wall took some trial and error because the rocks were different sizes and shapes. Equipment operators used a backhoe and a forklift to lift and place rocks, but a lot of work was done by hand and with shovels.

“Nothing was square, so you just had to flop them down and work with them,” DeLeone said.

Berryhill chose to incorporate most of the same warm-colored plants that were used in the other garden, including viburnum, juniper, burning bushes and paperbark maple trees.

Some of the plants were borrowed from other overplanted areas. The stones were reclaimed from construction projects on campus. The soil came from the surplus at athletics fields. The mulch was recycled tree debris from campus cleanup.

“It was a very cost-effective project,” Berryhill said.

All nine equipment operators helped with the project either by working on the site or picking up the slack for other regular duties. Because everyone helped, the project was finished in fewer than three weeks.

Equipment operator Bill Fitzgerald said he felt the project gave him a chance to be creative and take a break from routine grounds maintenance projects.

“I like that it’s a departure from the norm on campus,” groundskeeping supervisor Mike Pennock said. “It’s something that’s new and innovative. These guys are the best of the best, and this project showed what they’re capable of doing.”

Berryhill said she’s happy with the way the project turned out.

“It gave me a sense of freedom,” Berryhill said of the project. “I think we were able to leave an imprint on campus.”

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Caitlin Saniga [email protected].