School district stretches taxpayer dollars with multi-purpose equipment
Grasshopper zero-turn mowers have been a fixture of the Austin (Texas) Independent School District Athletic Department since 2003, and according to assistant athletic director Mike Szymarek, that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
With more than 40 separate facilities, fields and complexes to manage district-wide, Szymarek says that their fleet of 35 Grasshopper mowers – a mixture of diesel and gas, FrontMount™ and MidMount™ power units – are instrumental in keeping each site in top condition.
“We have football, soccer, baseball and softball fields to maintain. We also have several central facilities and stadium complexes,” he says. “With so much mowing going on, we need dependable equipment that works hard and doesn’t quit.”
Szymarek says that the 15-member maintenance crew is out mowing eight hours a day, five days a week, every week of the year.
“Central Texas doesn’t usually see severe cold snaps in the winter, and with our winter sports such as soccer, we plant perennial rye grass in October to keep the fields nice and green all year. So, we’re mowing and maintaining each field and facility year-round.”
Even though the mowers endure hard use every day, Szymarek says that the maintenance and down time is minimal. The district employs a part-time mechanic to see to the regular maintenance of each machine when needed.
“That means we can be more efficient with the time that we have each day, and with as many sites as we have to maintain, it makes a big difference.”
Szymarek says that for wide-open areas, their diesel Models 321D, 322D and 725DT with 61-inch decks handle the mowing with ease. For the areas with more obstacles and obstructions, they use their Model 616 gas units with smaller 44- and 48-inch decks for greater maneuverability.