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Who to thank for Miami's 'most beautiful campus'

Poet Robert Frost once called Miami "the most beautiful campus that ever there was."

The Physical Facilities Department, located in the Cole Service Building, covers any sort of beautification needs around campus. There are about 550 people that work for PFD. That includes administration, custodial, maintenance, construction, trucking, event planning and others.

Jeremy Davis, senior director for operations for PFD, spends his days planning and approving new buildings, trees and other projects.

Many students spend their time here enjoying the nature trails, their dorms, the Armstrong Student Center and many more assets the campus has to offer. All of these places are strategically planned for maximum student satisfaction, Davis said.

"Each project is planned about a year in advance," said Davis. "Before we even break ground, we have a lot of jobs and people to contact."

The Physical Facilities department works year-round to ensure Miami's upkeep. A lot of planning goes into a single project, which varies from mowing the lawn to the construction of the new wing in Armstrong Student Center.

"Every plant, sidewalk, lamp post is placed specifically to improve the feeling you get when you step on campus." Davis said. "If there's a sidewalk curving in a certain way, it's like that for a reason."

Daniel Berstch, the senior building and grounds manager for the Physical Facilities Department, works alongside Davis to update and maintain the looks of campus.

"Looks are everything. When you come to a new place your first impression is based on what you see," said Bertsch. "Miami stands out, I think, because of the ages of the trees. There's old and new, and we try our hardest to preserve the history."

When choosing Miami, there were many factors that went into sophomores Taylor Hendel's decision: price, safety, education and the feeling she got when she stepped on campus.

"For me, it was a sealed deal when I came here for a visit," said Hendel. "My family always talked about how beautiful it was, but I never understood what they meant until I got here."

For sophomore Bailey Haynes, her feelings were the same.

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"Growing up close by," Haynes said, "I never really appreciated campus until I took my first tour."

There are many new developments on campus this year including the East Wing of Armstrong, the new lawn in front of the Center for the Performing Arts and the renovations of various dorms across campus.

"I'm most excited about the space between Shriver and the art quad," said Davis. "We got rid of the fountain and made the space a lot more useful."

While PFD often updates buildings, they also work on embracing the history of campus. Davis expressed his love for the space between Stoddard and Elliot Halls on Academic Quad.

"They are two of the oldest dorms on campus," Davis said. "And even though they're renovated I can look out and still envision what campus used to look like."