Lack of golf course saves $60K

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

The golf course died8212;and left the U a cool $60,000 a year8212;more than enough to compensate some of the U’s watering mistakes.

The whole course is transforming into research buildings, parking lots and playing
fields as per the Campus Master Plan. So the U didn’t see any reason why it should maintain a golf course that will be no more. Construction crews have already torn up and paved over huge chunks of it.

However, the death of the golf course isn’t purely convenience; budget cuts would have limited the U’s ability to mow and fertilize it, which is about $50,000 of its budget, said Cory Higgins, director of plant operations.

“We’re mostly saving money by not mowing or fertilizing it,” Higgins said. “Water is inexpensive, so only a small amount is being saved by not watering it.”
Plant operations capped all sprinklers except those watering trees. They are watered just enough to keep them alive, so they will still be standing after new research
buildings and soccer fields pop up around them, Higgins said.

Even though shutting off the golf course’s sprinklers is saving the U money, faulty sprinklers elsewhere are washing some of it down the drain.
Through Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, two broken sprinklers
on 100 South8212;one north of thePhysics Building and the other west of the Delta Gamma sorority

house8212;shot water as high as seven feet into the air and onto the street for 15 minutes.
Northwest of the Naval Science Building, gallons of water

from the sprinklers spilled onto 100 South, also for 15 minutes.
“They’re oversaturating the grass. That’s probably why it’s running over,” said Kurin Williams,

a junior in international studies and a groundskeeper at the Wingpointe Golf Course, as mist sprayed him from the hyperactive sprinkler heads.
Thirty new small sprinklers,
installed Tuesday at a new parking lot’s grassy divider,
watered the blades for about six hours Wednesday morning. New sod is usually watered for 30 minutes a day.

The U purchases water from the city on a system: The more water needed in a given month, the more the water costs. Even though the scorching
days of August are still a recent memory, the price of water is low compared to a lot of other expenditures to keep grass green, Higgins said. The U would not have lost more than about $40 from the wasted
water Tuesday night.

All the same, students were angered to see their money wash down the drain.
Jake O’Connor is a junior in mass communication who lives at the Sigma Nu fraternity
house across the street from the broken sprinklers. He said was surprised the school would allow all this water to go to waste as the Naval Science Building’s overflow
poured over his shoes.

“Didn’t the U just get an award for sustainability?” he asked.
It did. Gov. Gary Herbert recognized
the U for its leading example in sustainability this summer during an environmental
meeting at the Capitol.

But back at the U campus, with broken sprinklers shooting
up around him, Williams shook his head in dismay as he watched a fraction of his tuition run down the street.