Facility Services News

It's mean, it's green and it runs like a Deer. John Deere that is.

Spring 2020 came roaring in like a lion. With spring came the need to replace and older 4x4 lawn mower that was unable to take care of the more hilly areas on campus.

Special thanks to AKRS Equipment Solutions for their assistance with trading in our old mower on a John Deere X738 lawn tractor. Our new mower features a 60" deck stamped out of 9-guage steel engineered for durability and premium cutting. The X738 has a hydrostatic, full-time 4-wheel drive system with a top speed of 8.5 mph. The premium seating and adjustable steering wheel make mowing quite pleasant for the Grounds crew.

Bee on flower

Though many are not on campus this summer, there are still important visitors to Peru State. Pollinators will be arriving soon!

In 2007, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved to designate one week every June as Pollinator Week. This year Pollinator Week is June 22 – 28. Please consider creating or enhancing a pollinator habitat.

For more on the importance of pollinators, please visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service webpage.


Happy 40th NSA!  Nebraska Arboretum Logo

On Friday, September the 14th, members of Facility Services, along with members of Faculty and student body, created beautiful arrangements for the Oak Bowl suites and other campus areas. In honor of the 40th birthday of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, students sourced the materials (excluding the containers) from around the campus. Some of the items found were a bit of a surprise. For example, Pecan and Osage orange (hedge apple) trees are growing on campus! Other items used included pinecones, hydrangeas, walnuts, buckeyes, acorns and some native grasses.

If you see one of these arrangements around campus, please stop and take a closer look. As the old saying goes, “You never see the (pecan) tree for the (buckeye) forest”!

Fun Fact about the Osage Orange. Archers consider wood from the tree as the world’s finest for making bows. Hence the nickname “bowwood”.


help with pollinator garden

Two years ago, members of the Peru State College Facility Services department, in conjunction with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, worked to create a pollinator garden. The garden is located on the south side of the Student Center, lower level.

But, what is a pollinator garden and why is it important?

Firstly, a pollinator is an insect, bird or even a bat, who plays a vital role in the reproduction of flowering plants. As bees, butterflies and other animals visit plants to gather nectar for themselves, they carry pollen from one plant to another which fertilizes it and produces fruit and seeds. Believe it or not, these animals help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants, and almost 75% of our food crops!

Why is a pollinator garden important? A recent study of the status of North American pollinators, including honeybees, shows a declining population. Loss of habitat for wild pollinators contributes to the population decline. Ergo, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum encourages the establishing of pollinator gardens to revitalize the population.

Without pollinators, many fruits and nuts would disappear. Imagine a world without chocolate and coffee!

Members of the Peru State College Women’s Basket Ball team recently helped with the upkeep of the pollinator garden. They weeded, trimmed plants, and turned mulch so our pollinators have a nice feeding/living environment.

Thank you ladies!


Installation of the first mural created by Images in Brick for the new Theatre/Events Center is complete. The mural depicts Professor Wilbur F. Hoyt, for whom the Hoyt Science Building is named. 

Mr. Hoyt was the long-time head of the Science department on campus, and wrote the textbook Principles, Problems and Methods of Elementary Chemistry. After WWI, Professor Hoyt was a believer that the adjustment to modern times and changing attitudes produced a need for education in the sciences fields. “This is eminently the age of science and preeminently the age of chemistry, without which modern civilization and 20th century industry cannot live and move. Chemistry is fundamental and underlies all other sciences, touches every phase of human life and energizes almost every industrial activity.”–Professor Wilbur F. Hoyt

Therefore, it is fitting that the first of two murals to be installed is that of Professor Hoyt and his telescope. The mural, seen in the photos below, took three days to install. Jay Tschetter, the artist, along with John Horn and Greg Znamenacek did an outstanding job making sure the mural is perfect. After the installation of the second mural is complete, Mr. Tschetter will come back to finish the cleanup and caulking of both.

I was fortunate enough to watch some of the installation up close, and have great respect for the work involved. I was interested to see how the mural was fastened to the wall of the theatre, and how the bricks were laid and kept level. Again, as you can see in the photos, straps were screwed to the bricks and the wall of the building, and a level and chalk line were utilized. Also of interest, each brick is scored with the mural ID (N or S), the row the brick belongs in, and the number of where it belongs. At the end of the three days, as Jay fitted the last brick, it was amazing to see how well everything came together and fit perfectly.

Thank you to Chuck Murphy from Facility Services for helping with some of the photos, and for my lift into the air! In addition, thank you Hannah Cook for helping me research Mr. Hoyt.

Please enjoy the photos.

Eisentrager (left) and Tschetter (right) with Old Main.

Peru State College, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary, will soon be the home of two new exterior Images in Brick installations. Jay Tschetter, president of and sculptor for Images in Brick, has spent the last several months working on the stunning creations.

I recently had the great fortune to meet Mr. Tschetter and view his progress on the murals. Along with fellow artist Sten Eisentrager, Tschetter (who has over 30 years of experience in sculpting and masonry) was happy to show the murals and answer any questions. To say I was impressed with the almost-finished works is an understatement. However, just as interesting as the art is the artist, the company providing the clay and studio, and the sculpting process.

Mr. Tschetter has worked with several clay companies nationwide including Yankee Hill Brick, ACME Brick, Pacific Clay Products, Glen-Gery Brick and Endicott Clay Products. Tschetter’s works can be seen across the US. A few notable murals include:

  • The Memphis Fire Fighters Memorial, Memphis, TN
  • Spirit of Endeavor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Iron Horse Legacy, Haymarket, Lincoln, NE

Right now Tschetter and Eisentrager are working with Endicott Clay Products to complete the murals that will be installed on the (currently being renovated) event center at Peru State College.

Endicott Clay Products began in 1920 in Jefferson County Nebraska. The area is rich in clay that yields a variety of authentic iron spot colors (dark spots caused by the presence of iron salts) and is of excellent quality for bricks and sculpting. Tschetter stated, “Some clays are just too sandy, and when you try to pack it together it just delaminates and comes apart. This is a nice sculpting clay”.

Best of all? Endicott sources all of their clay from their back yard!

How does one start a mural project? A committee including the artist and representatives from the architectural firm and the college meet several times to go over concept, sketches and final approval of what the murals will look like. From there the artist, in this case Jay Tschetter, is ready to enter the studio.

At Endicott, the clay bricks are stacked according to the plans. A “dummy layer” is added at the top so the sculptors have somewhere to pin the plastic, which covers the clay at night. A second dummy layer, this one three bricks high, is added on the bottom to prevent the artists from having to lay on the floor to sculpt. As soon as the clay is arranged, a grid is grafted over the drawing and the bricks. The initial image is cut into the brick and the artist begins reduction carving. Several layers of refinement and adding of detail are done before the mural is complete.

For the murals at Peru State College Tschetter chose to use brick that is 6” in depth. This brick will have enough depth to show all of the intricate details in the murals. When installed, the edging of the pieces will have a little “reveal” and the rest of the image will project away from the wall. To make the images stand out better in sunlight, Tschetter picked a color and tone that will “make the leaves pop and create some shadows”.

When the murals are almost complete Tschetter and Eisentrager will do a last scraping, more texturing to make the subtle details more defined. This is the final sculpting step. Next, another artist comes and painstakingly removes every brick, line by line, and drills holes into the tops of the bricks. The holes assist in the drying process, allowing the bricks to dry evenly and prevent color imbalance. It will take 2-3 days for this artist to take apart all of the bricks in one of the murals. The bricks are then laid out and air dry for two weeks. This is an important step in the brick mural process. Shrinkage may occur if the bricks are not fully dried before they are fired.

Finally, when all of the bricks are ready, Tschetter will return to the campus and meticulously line up each brick. A thin line of mortar, which precisely matches the color of the brick, will be used and blended in to complete the install.

Though I could have stayed and talked to Tschetter and Eisentrager longer, I knew they needed to return to sculpting. As I was getting ready to leave, I watched as both artists effortlessly carved details into the clay. Overcome with a feeling of awe I left the studio. I cannot wait to see the installed murals!

The new MAX-R customized trash and recycling bins for Delzell hall have arrived!

For the last several months, Campus Services has been working with a representative from MAX-R to create trash and recycling bins that coordinate with the updates to Delzell hall. From concept to conclusion, MAX-R has worked closely with us to ensure quality and, as stated on their website, “maintaining our facility’s unique aesthetics and standards”.>

Why choose MAX-R? Why not another company? Simply put, MAX-R is a company that aligns with our quest for sustainability. For seventeen years, they have worked to change the culture of recycling and build long lasting products in the United States. Located in Sussex, WI, MAX-R’s manufacturing facility is powered 100% by renewable energy.

The material that MAX-R uses for their “lumber” is made from 97% post-consumer HDPE….milk jugs! This material is the purest grade of recycled plastic available and is infused with premium grade resins and UV inhibitors to prevent color fade from sun exposure. Best of all, the lumber does not absorb moisture. This means that the bins are resistant to mold and rotting.

Each MAX-R unit “reclaims and re-purposes approximately 1,000 milk jugs from landfill”. Each bin has its own unique number telling exactly how many jugs were recycled to make it. Not only are the bins made from recycled material, the bins themselves can be recycled! We’re going green!