2022 PGMS Green Star Awards | SSC’s Winning Campuses

October 24, 2022

Each year, the PGMS Green Star Awards® nationally recognize private, public, commercial, and industrial landscapes maintained with a high degree of excellence. This year, SSC Services for Education is excited to announce awards received for operations on five of our partner campuses. 2022 marks the sixth year that SSC has received recognition from PGMS.

The Athenian School: Grand & Sustainability Awards

The Athenian School, located in Danville, California, received a Grand Award in the K12 educational institution category and the third Sustainability Award ever given out by PGMS. SSC works to embrace and share Athenian’s ideology and priorities, including responsible environmental stewardship. The 75-acre campus shares a seamless border with Mount Diablo State Park, and the campus landscape maintains a minimalist, sustainable approach to complement the surrounding environment.

Athletic fields and other spaces are being transitioned from natural to synthetic turf to reduce the need for large amounts of water (especially during droughts), fertilizer, and pesticides. Uneven terrain poses an additional challenge, which is solved by utilizing herds of goats to clear large areas of brush, grass, and other vegetation. This mitigates risk to personnel and equipment, and avoids using herbicides and gas-powered equipment that results in pollution.

The Athenian School was also recognized as the winner of the 2022 Sustainability Award. This award is given out to one grounds team each year and recognizes landscaping programs that are taking a lead in the implementation of initiatives that sustain our environment.

Murray State University: Grand Award

Murray State University, located in Murray, Kentucky, received a Grand Award in the university athletic complex category. Murray State University’s athletic department aims  to have the best fields in their conference for student-athletes. To achieve that goal, SSC’s Grounds Team maintains a close relationship with coaches and university staff to ensure that each field is visually appealing, safe, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Sustainability is a core component of the Murray State University Grounds Department. The entire department has zero green waste,  meaning all organic debris created by groundwork is recycled directly into the soil or composted on campus for further use. Weekly irrigation system inspections, electric equipment, and non-selective weed control are additional highlights of the sustainable SSC grounds program on campus.

“The grass was better than it has ever been for the duration of the season.  The dirt played more true than it ever has since the 2014 season when this field was built.  We kept the batting and pitching areas flat and filled.  I can't say enough about the help that the SSC staff gave us throughout this season.”

Murray State University Softball Coach

TAMU Military Walk: Grand Award

Texas A&M University’s main campus in College Station, Texas, is a sprawling 5,500 acres and has levels of service from APPA I through V. The Military Walk is a 2500’ walkway through the heart of the historic portion of the campus that displays memorials and statues featuring stories about the traditions of the campus. The walk was originally incorporated on campus over 100 years ago as a dirt road that the Corps of Cadets used to march to and from the Mess Hall.

SSC maintains the Military Walk to APPA I standards, utilizing our horticulture, arborist, and specialized teams to ensure our service matches the Aggie standard of tradition and excellence. The SSC team is responsible for maintaining seasonal color planted in containers by each monument, pruning and shaping trees along the walk, mulching the live oaks and plant beds in the area, and ensuring a well-manicured landscape at all times, among other tasks.

SSC Grounds at Texas A&M University's Mission is to safely provide unparalleled grounds management at Texas A&M University while prioritizing stewardship of the campus environment.

Queens University of Charlotte: Honor Award

Queens University of Charlotte, located in Charlotte, NC, is a private university located in one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country. The campus is just minutes away from the city center, tucked away in the beautiful and historic neighborhood of Myers Park. A Grounds Manager and four full-time crew members are responsible for maintaining the campus. Our service area consists of nine acres of tall fescue, a 15-acre offsite sports park and upwards of four thousand annual plants (changed three times a year to coincide with annual events) in addition to pruning, irrigation repair, leaf cleanup, and other tasks.

Queens University is a hub for students and the community, with nearby residents using outdoor spaces on campus like a city park. Coupled with being near many homes and residences, our teams have finely tuned processes, flexible schedules, and backup plans to ensure all work gets done without interfering with campus visitors.

Queens University of Charlotte is located in the heart of the Myers Park area. Because of it's central location, we make it a point of pride to stake our claim as the centerpiece of this beautiful neighborhood.

Charleston County Schools: Honor Award

Charleston County School District encompasses 156 square miles of the Low Country in the Palmetto state of sunny South Carolina. SSC manages 55 properties, over 500 acres of K12 school grounds, over 15 acres of retention pond banks, 51 acres of athletic and practice fields, and two synthetic turf fields. With such an expansive district to care for, SSC’s grounds teams operate with careful routing, planning, and schedule coordination to ensure service meets the expectation of the district.

A unique aspect of this partnership is the requirement to complete three services of the district in the two weeks leading up to the school year to ensure that all campuses look well-maintained for the first day of school. Our average staffing level allows the completion of one round of service each week. During this time, SSC associates from across the country are brought on-site to ensure service can be completed by the time students arrive.

Fun Fact: Native azaleas (pictured) represent the heritage and history of the low country in South Carolina, and are used throughout Charleston County School District. To promote bud growth and flowering, SSC's grounds team selectively prunes each of these plants by hand. 


Congratulations to all SSC Grounds Teams and campuses recognized for their excellence this year at the 2022 Professional Grounds Management Society’s Green Star Awards. For more information on SSC Grounds Management services, check out our grounds service page.

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