The early days of facilities management

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Photo courtesy of RIT Archive Collections

Almost as soon as the land in Henrietta was purchased, RIT began planting trees. Harry Rider, superintendent of buildings and grounds, and an unidentified student do their part. (ca. 1962-1966)

The new campus in Henrietta had been farmland and there were no plantings around the new buildings. Knowing that trees would provide needed shade and beautify and soften the campus, RIT President Mark Ellingson suggested that a tree nursery be developed. Sapling trees and shrubs were planted years before the campus was finished to get a jump start on growth, to be moved later to various areas on campus. Tree planting was initially a group effort—students and staff pitched in to plant trees, but landscape design and maintenance has been managed by Facilities Management Services ever since. They have managed the planting of literally thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers. In the 1970s, nature trails were developed with wildflower species and efforts have continued with further plantings and the redesign of areas to create focal points and outdoor rooms. The work is all due to the efforts of the staff of Facilities Maintenance Services, who continue to “garden” this very large yard that is the RIT campus.