Spring is officially here and those in charge of the grounds at BYU-Idaho are hard at work getting the campus ready for the warmer weather.

Jeff Palmer, the director of grounds, operations and transportation, heads the team.

“I grew up doing construction, and it put me through college,” Palmer said. “And 20 years later, I was like, ‘Okay, still landscaping.’ And this job opened up, and God sent me here.”

Palmer is in charge of the upkeep of the campus.

“There’s just a lot of sweeping of the salt, getting that back off, and then it takes a while for the ground to dry out, and we just see what damage we have to repair on the sod,” Palmer said. “We usually end up cutting out the sod along the sidewalks in those areas that get damaged and replace that. A lot of sprinklers that get damaged from the plows. There’s just a lot of things that go into getting campus up and running again.”

There is a small garden oasis in the center of the Taylor Quad at BYU-Idaho

There is a small garden oasis in the center of the Taylor Quad at BYU-Idaho Photo credit: Chandler Guadagnin

What is not often known is that the campus grounds crew is also in charge of taking care of the Rexburg Temple grounds.

BYU-Idaho's grounds crew is also in charge of the landscaping at the Rexburg Temple and some local stake centers.

BYU-Idaho's grounds crew is also in charge of the landscaping at the Rexburg Temple and some local stake centers. Photo credit: Chandler Guadagnin

“There’s nine areas,” Palmer said. “That includes the temple and some stake centers that we maintain. We have an agreement, a service agreement with the temple. It gives our students opportunities to be a part of maintaining the temple. It’s kind of a neat experience.”

With the manpower, equipment and time needed, Palmer says it is expensive, to say the least.

BYU-Idaho's grounds crews travels across campus in orange vehicles called Gators.

BYU-Idaho's grounds crews travels across campus in orange vehicles called Gators. Photo credit: Chandler Guadagnin

“It’s expensive,” Palmer said. “We have a big budget. It’s one of the bigger budgets.”

Despite the cost, it is well worth the payoff.

“I think it’s beautiful,” said Austin Pace, a BYU-Idaho student. “I love the scenery of Idaho.”

As spring comes, Palmer says the campus is meant for students.

“We want everybody to enjoy the grounds,” Palmer said. “We want them to get out on the grass and just enjoy being outdoors.”

Whether it is the temple or the campus, the crew has one goal.

“I know most of you guys are far away from home, so I hope campus is kind of a comfort,” Palmer said. “Just a place where you feel like you can relax and do what you’re here to do.”