As many people on campus and in the community are already aware, the Leach Teaching Gardens are now open! The grand opening was held the morning of Friday, June 15. “The 21 themed garden rooms and 250+ species and varieties of plants, flowers, trees and shrubs really make this garden the premier spot for teaching, research and outreach. We are so excited that the Leach Teaching Gardens are ready to welcome everyone to this Aggieland showcase,” says Joseph Johnson, Gardens Manager.
There were numerous moving parts leading up to the grand opening, many involving SSC’s Engineering, Design & Construction Services (EDCS) and Grounds Management teams. While what visitors to The Gardens see is aboveground, there is much structure underground that allows the aboveground components to properly function. Dr. Mikael “Mike” Olsen, Structural/Civil Engineer served as the Project Manager from SSC’s Engineering, Design & Construction Services team. Brian Diggins, Construction Inspector III, had a big hand in the project with all of the construction inspection work.
When the project was first put out to bid, local company Quad Tex was awarded the job. During both phases of construction, there were 29 sub-contractor businesses on-site. Brian says Quad Tex did a great job with underground electrical work and water supply and made sure the grade of dirt work and slopes was right.
Construction lasted 690 days with part 1 beginning in July 2016 lasting until March 2017. Part 2 took place from March 2017 right up until a few days before the grand opening.
SSC’s Grounds helped with getting ready for the grand opening by “deadheading roses, trimming perennials, cleaning White Creek, raking decomposed granite, blowing off sidewalks and cleaning any marks, assembling 10 picnic tables and moving them to their appropriate spots,” explained Brandon Morgan, SSC Grounds Assistant Director of Operations. Brandon is over the majority of horticulture on campus, with the exception of special projects. SSC’s Grounds department will have at least 2 full-time associates taking care of The Gardens at an APPA 1 plus level. SSC mow crews will take care of fine turf areas.
Gardens Manager Joseph Johnson is “looking forward to working along with SSC-Grounds maintaining The Gardens and together we can learn better landscape maintenance practices and spectacular ornamental displays that could resonate throughout the Texas A&M Campus.”
SSC is thrilled to have played a role in this monumental project and we are excited to help maintain this beautiful space. If you haven’t already seen The Gardens in person, we encourage everyone to do so. The Gardens are truly stunning!