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VU-Plant Operations Grounds Maintenance Services


Danny McKissack

Manager, Facilities and Services-Grounds Maintenance


Manager, Sports Turf and Facilities

Laura Barker

Horticultural Specialist

Contact Information:

Grounds Maintenance Services can be reached at all times for emergencies through BSC at 615-322-2621. Daytime questions and requests can be placed by contacting SIS at 615-322-9675 or 322-8110.

Hours of Operation

7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday


Grounds Maintenance Services maintains 336 acres of landscaped and hard surfaced areas throughout the main University campus, the Vanderbilt Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital; we provide environmentally safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing exterior and interior surroundings for the students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors to enjoy.

Services include:

  • General Grounds Maintenance
  • Turf Maintenance and Management
  • Irrigation
  • Tree Maintenance
  • Parking Lot and Street Sweeping
  • Solid Waste Management
  • Snow and Ice Removal
  • Events Support

General Grounds Maintenance

To facilitate work, grounds maintenance crews are organized into five maintenance zones. Each zone has a grounds crew leader and a crew of three to five people. Each zone crew is responsible for daily litter cleanup; grass mowing and trim mowing; edging of sidewalks and curbs; weeding and mulching of shrub and flowerbeds; fertilizing and weed control; and cleaning debris from storm drains. Seasonally these same crews are responsible for removal, planting and maintenance of annual and perennial plants and shrubs. Within the zones each crew member is assigned a portion of the zone for which they are responsible and accountable to the crew leader. Zone crews also provide maintenance to interior gardens in buildings located within their zone.

In addition to the main campus, we provide grounds maintenance services to some of Vanderbilt University remote facilities and to properties managed by the Vanderbilt University Office of Real Estate.

Turf Maintenance and Management

Grounds Maintenance Services manages a comprehensive athletic and recreational fields’ maintenance program for both natural and artificial turf as well prominent green areas. Campus lawns are heavily used throughout the academic year for university and student sponsored events. Each spring the Turf and Facilities Manager conducts a field and major lawns condition assessment to develop the summer maintenance program based on their condition level. The maintenance programs range from full to partial field renovation by either spriggin or sodding to the standard aeration, fertilization and irrigation process. Prominent campus lawns are blocked during the summer months for maintenance and to allow for full recovery following the academic year heavy traffic.


An irrigation specialist provides maintenance and repair services to all campus irrigation systems with the support of the grounds crew lead person for each of the maintenance zones. Grounds Maintenance Services supplements this service using external vendors for extensive repairs and major installations.

If you plan to hold an event on any of the main campus lawns anytime during spring or summer, please make sure that you reserve the lawn through the Reservations and Events Office to make sure that the sprinkler systems are turned off during your event. In addition if any tents are scheduled for this event, please request a utility location survey to ensure that no utility lines are damaged during the tent installation.

Tree Maintenance

A specialty crew of two arborists is responsible for tree maintenance in all zones. The crew is responsible for maintaining the large and small trees on core campus; assessing general tree conditions and making recommendations for removal of dead or unsafe trees; removing dead and excess branches from trees and other hardwoods to improve health/appearance and to maintain right-of-way for roads, sidewalks or utilities; pruning, fertilizing and spraying trees and shrubs, and removing trees.

Solid Waste Management

The Grounds Maintenance Services is responsible for overseeing the solid waste management outsourced services for the main university campus. Allied Waste is the current solid waste services provider. If you observe any dumpster overflowing in the vicinity of your building or encounter any problems with solid waste services in general, please contact SIS during normal work hours at 615-322-9675.

In addition to the standard services, we facilitate the process to obtain additional dumpsters for special events and department or schools one-time activities. This special request can be made by submitting a Facilities Service Request.

Snow and Ice Removal

During the winter season Plant Operations is responsible for snow and ice removal from all campus pedestrian walkways, handicapped ramps, patios and interior campus roads. Our primary emphasis is to maintain our walkways and primary driving routes to the safest possible conditions. Snow and ice removal operations are conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Plant Operations Snow and Ice Removal Plan. View the Snow and Ice Removal Plan map.

Every possible effort is made to remove all snow and ice from campus walkways prior to the start of classes and to keep them clear for the rest of the day. If you encounter an area that is particularly hazardous, please contact us immediately at 615-322-2621 or 322-9625.

Events Support

Grounds Maintenance Services personnel/crews provide trash/litter policing services in support of University and Student Life outdoor events as well as university hosted events for external activities such as commencement activities, student organization activities, football and baseball gameday activities, Special Olympics, etc. Requests for grounds support for outdoor activities must be coordinated and requested through the Reservations and Events Office followed by a Facilities Services Request. Organizations requesting these services must provide an account center number where the services will be charged to. Charges are based on the grounds shop rate. Requests should be made at least one week prior to the date of the event.