Iconic Grounds: Notre Dame

This article is part of a series featuring premier facilities across North America that partner with Toro for equipment and support.

Notre Dame is situated on 1,250 acres, which are thought of as some of the most beautiful university grounds of any in the nation. The park-like landscape surrounds the collegiate Gothic architecture that makes up the university’s academic halls and administration buildings.

For this Iconic Grounds profile, we asked Notre Dame’s superintendent of landscape services Timothy Dyczko to explain how his team maintains the university grounds to ensure visitors experience the beauty of Notre Dame every time they step on campus.

A Destination

As one of the top tourist destinations in Indiana, Notre Dame is a daily host to prospective students, conference or event attendees, alumni and folks who’ve just always wanted to visit. With so many visitors and an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 9,000 students roaming the grounds, the landscaping greets thousands of people to campus every day.  

“Notre Dame is a destination not only to folks in Indiana, but people around the world,” says Dyczko. “Because of that, people have certain expectations when they visit campus, be it for the first time or 100th time.”

The visual splendor of Notre Dame’s campus includes the park aesthetic of the grounds, outdoor sculptures and captivating views. From the original buildings to recently constructed academic halls and student facilities, there’s a visual aesthetic of tradition and progress that ties the entire university grounds together. Ultimately, the grounds are more than just landscaping and gothic architecture — they’re the home for the students, faculty and staff of Notre Dame, and a haven for visitors.

The Notre Dame Crew

Maintaining the cohesive aesthetic of one of the most iconic universities in the nation is no small feat. Dyczko and his crew of 30 landscape services staff members work day in and day out to keep the 1,250 acres of campus at their finest.

“Our crew is a service-oriented team, and every day we come to work to create, maintain and preserve this historic campus,” says Dyczko. “We take a lot of pride in our work. In fact, many of our crew members have been here for more than 15 years. A select few can even claim upwards of 30 years on staff.”

What that translates to is a team that is Notre Dame through and through. “Everyone takes their job seriously because this is their home,” adds Dyczko. “They care about the university and the grounds, and they work hard to meet not only the University and public’s expectations for the campus, but also their own.” Notre Dame pride is so important to the team that even seasonal grounds employees are instilled with a sense of loyalty to the university.

Notre Dame Puzzle

The 31-member team is divided into crews that handle mowing and trimming, fertilizing, water and pest control treatment, pruning trees and shrubs, designing and maintain flower beds and picking up trash and litter. They also plant, remove and replace trees and shrubs, sod, seed and renovate turf and handle snow and ice removal in the winter.

By divvying up the responsibilities and allowing a small group of staff to handle the varying grounds responsibilities, the crews are able to build expertise year over year. “It’s like a puzzle, and each crew member is responsible for a piece of the puzzle,” says Dyczko.

That ultimately translates to meticulous grounds, expertly planted and irrigated landscaping and a strategy for handling snow that takes advantage of lessons learned over the years. “I believe we have the best approach to snow of any university out there,” says Dyczko. “We’ve learned over the years that to get all 45 miles of campus sidewalk, parking lots, roads and steps cleared, we need to start working by 2 in the morning following a snow event to have everything cleared by 7 a.m. when faculty and staff begin to arrive on campus.”

Seeing Red on the Green

To keep up with the vast grounds throughout all four seasons of the year, Dyczko and his team rely on a fleet of Toro equipment. “I inherited the fleet when I started here almost 11 years ago,” says Dyczko. “And I’ve kept it because it’s the highest quality equipment in the industry.”

With more than 40 pieces of Toro equipment in the grounds fleet, the crew has everything they need to attend to the vast campus. From aerating campus turf to revive stressed grass to trimming trees and shrubs, the crew trusts Toro.

And while the grounds crew and their red equipment may often blend into the background of campus life, their work is at the forefront of the university. It’s what greets students, staff, faculty, and visitors when they step on campus, and it’s part of what makes the captivating Notre Dame campus the iconic destination that it is.  

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