Compact Decision Boosts Staff Morale - Kings Rochester

With a history dating way back to the year 604, King’s Rochester is the second oldest school in England and provides an outstanding education for boys and girls aged 3 to 18.

Academic results are almost legendary, whilst all types of sports and past-times are catered for, providing a well-balanced education for the potential of a fulfilling and rewarding life ahead for all its pupils.

Maintaining the grounds and sports facilities is no mean task and recent investments into grounds-care and maintenance equipment has created significant motivation, not just with pupils, but with the professional grounds staff. Much of the sports facilities are sited at The Paddock, The Alps and King’s Rochester Sports Centre and require a team of four professional grounds-keepers to maintain the sports amenities and the surrounding gardens at all times.

King’s Rochester Operations Manager, Tim Payne commented, “We decided recently to enhance our current maintenance machinery fleet, with a view to improving the efficiency of our grounds maintenance. Ageing equipment was costing us lost time and was sometimes challenging our timeliness, particularly as most of our pitches are used extensively through the season. So about a year ago, we decided to invite demonstrations of the three top brands of equipment, to test them on our own amenity areas. Surprisingly, we found the difference in quality, price and operator functionality, was considerable.”

The John Deere gave us significant performance advantage over the other machines”

Typical grounds maintenance activities at King’s Rochester include mowing, scarifying, fertiliser spreading, spraying and materials handling, to mention just a few. “Once we had completed our tests,” added Tim Payne, “the grounds maintenance team and I prepared an analysis of positives and negatives from each machine and then reviewed from where the added value came for our organisation. We then presented these findings to the Board of Governors. It was clear to all of us that the best machine by far was the John Deere - in terms of build quality, operator positioning and features and, also with regards to price. Burden Bros Agri who supplied the John Deere have given us excellent support and service and we are very happy with their customer service.”

King’s Rochester chose the John Deere 2036R Compact Utility Tractor, which comes with a two-range hydrostatic drive, a fully enclosed operator station and a three-cylinder 27.1kW diesel engine.

“The John Deere gave us significant performance advantage over the other machines,” said Tim, “and that meant we were able to reduce our part-time staff requirement, which made the purchase decision even more palatable. With about twelve acres of amenity area requiring attention and regular maintenance, reliability, ease of operation, performance and cost-effectiveness all play a vital role in helping us prepare the sports facilities for our pupils. The 2036R has attachments already installed which means we can add a front-loader in the near future, without any difficulty.

There is one other result that has produced a significant PR benefit to the school. Parents and pupils are very impressed with the John Deere on our sports fields - which we weren’t necessarily expecting. And, the motivation it has given to our team of grounds staff, has been immeasurable. I can see this new tractor lasting us for at least twenty years!” he concluded.

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