Project Case Study: HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus

By: Carmen Weber // Stack Rock Group : Landscape Architecture


Project Name: HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus number 567
Location: Boise, Idaho
Date Designed: Spring 2016
Date Construction Completed: Spring 2017
Cost: TBD
Size: 200 acres
Landscape Architects: Will Howard & Jesson Buster, Stack Rock Group, Boise, ID
Client: HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus
Consultants: HC Company, JJ Howard Engineers, McMillen Jacobes Associates, Intermountain Rangeland Consultants, Western Laboratories, MK Nature Center
Managed By: HC Company & Trautman Lawn and Landscape Company
Cost Comparison:
Biome and Ecoregion: Xeric Shrubland within the Snake River Plain, Snake-Colombia Shrub Steep


Context

Located to the northwest of downtown Boise, HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus spans roughly 200 acres. Within the 200 acres are 40 acres of traditional turf, 4 acres of planters, 30 areas of open field, 36 acres of farmland, 3.38 acres of ponds and 87.19 acres of hardscape with about 20 acres of mature trees on site. The campus was built in the early 1970’s where the prior land was farmland. Today, HP Inc. farms the 36 acres on site for local livestock feed.


Site Analysis

The HP Inc. Boise, Idaho campus is located on the northwest end of Boise on Chinden Boulevard between Five Mile Road and Cloverdale Road. Chinden Boulevard is a major artery for traffic heading east/west, while Five Mile and Cloverdale act as sub arteries for traffic going north/south. The site has a north aspect with exposure to full with prevailing winds from the northwest. The typical annual precipitation is about 11.66 inches with typical highs in the 80s- 90s (some summer days exceeding 100) and lows dipping in the 10s-20s, the Boise, Idaho Valley experiences four
seasons.

The site consists of a total of 200 acres with 87.19 acres of hardscape, which include buildings, roads, parking lots, and pathways. The vegetative cover is comprised of 4 acers of shrub beds, 40 acres of irrigated and maintained turf, 30 acres of open field, 36 acres of farmland, and 3.38 acres of ponds on site.


Project Background and History

The HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus site had a ‘traditional’ landscape that predominantly featured Kentucky Blue Grass turf that requires an excessive amount of water and maintenance. The technology campus looked to reduce the amount of money that they were spending to maintain their landscape, and with this as their primary goal HP Inc. approached their construction management company, HC Company. HC Company reached out to Stack Rock Group to consult on ways to reduce HP Inc.’s overall spending on the landscape. From here Stack Rock Group
took the lead in designing the overall look of the sustainable landscape by introducing a native grass seed mix to replace the Kentucky Blue Grass, remove the existing shrubs with native perennials and restore the sports fields through an interdisciplinary approach. Stack Rock Group developed this interdisciplinary team of biologists, rangeland ecologists, engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, the MK Nature Center of the Idaho Fish and Game, and HP Inc. stakeholders. From here, the team collaborated on ways to reduce the water consumption while maintaining HP Inc.’s platform of a leader in sustainability.


Genesis of Project

This project was conceived to be more cost effective and sustainably responsible by reducing water use for the approximately 40 acres of turf grass. Additionally, the 40 acres plus the rest of the landscape maintenance demands on site were costing the technology campus an exorbitant amount of money annually. From here, HP Inc. consulted with their construction management company, HC Company, who manages the landscape maintenance contractor, Truatman Lawn and Landscape. From here, Stack Rock Group was brought in to advise in ways to help increase cost savings in the landscape.


Sustainable Features

From the beginning of the construction process, environmental sensitivity and reuse coupled with cost and water savings have been at the top of the agenda for this campus redesign. All of the sod that surrounded the campus core had the water turned off to let it die in the spring/summer months. Once this had been achieved, the sod was removed and composted on site. This compost has been used to amend the existing planter beds on site. A native seed mix was installed in place of the high water-demanding sod. In addition to this feature, the site includes the native
vegetation that requires a significantly less amount of water to maintain the health and vitality of the flora. The stormwater on site is collected and piped underground into holding ponds where the water is pumped back into the landscape to irrigate the vegetation.


Design, Development and Decision Making Process

The overall design has been broken into two phases; internal courtyards and parking islands, and all other landscape areas. The first phase that was implemented was to address the entire site minus the internal courtyards and parking islands. There has not been a date determined to implement the second phase of the landscape transformation.


Role of Landscape Architects

The Landscape Architects at Stack Rock Group in Boise, Idaho were contacted to provide our input in ways to reduce spending and costs associated with maintaining the campus. Stack Rock Group also brought a team of qualified professionals together to have round-table conversations to ensure the prolonged success of this campus redesign. In addition to design and collaboration, Stack Rock Group took the lead the submittal book to the Sustainable SITES Imitative to become SITES certified.


Program Elements

Some key elements in this project include a native grass seed mix, native perennials, stormwater for landscape irrigation and education on sustainable practices. Additionally, creating a dynamic and diverse team of experts was an imperative element for ensuring the overall success of this project. Without the professionals that created our team weighing in on key elements, the HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus would not have been as successful as it has proven to be. The creation of a long-term maintenance and performance monitoring plan have been developed to


Maintenance and Management

The campus is managed by HC Company and the maintenance is performed by Trautman Lawn and Landscape Company. This will continue in the years that follow the installation of the new, native landscape. It is recognized that the native grass will need to be moved every so often after establishment, but the overall intention is to let it grow with very little maintenance. See appendix A for the site maintenance management plan.


Criticism

All parties involved received notices of concern regarding the drastic change in the landscape at HP Inc. Boise. Initially the water was turned off to the lawn areas so that the grass could die before it was removed. The site users were concerned about the overall health and vitality of the mature trees that are located within the turf areas on site. However, their mature root structures allowed for the trees to continue thriving without regularly scheduled watering. This look was not received very well and has been the only criticism of the project to date.


Significance & Uniqueness of Project

The landscape redesign of the HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus is significant for the community, SITES program, and for HP Inc. in that it is the first campus redesign that has been recognized as a
Sustainable SITES project and the first SITES certified project in the State of Idaho. This is the first of the HP Inc. campuses to strive to be certified through the Sustainable SITEs Initiative. Based on this success of the Boise, Idaho campus landscape redesign, the tech company plans to develop similar sustainable practices on other campuses of theirs.


Limitations

The main limitations of this project came in the form of doing a SITES redesign versus a SITES new construction. The SITES book is written for new construction and doesn’t always have the appropriate text or dictation for a redesign. The team addressed each section to the best of their ability through the lens of a redesign. Not all portions of each section pertained to the HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus, such as section 7.2 requires a SWPPP or local equivalent which was not needed for this redesign. Any elements that were not able to be fulfilled in each section are
addressed in the narrative for that section.


Generalizable Features & Lessons Learned

Overall, the team has learned multiple lessons throughout the various stages of the HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus redesign. It is important to develop a time line that can be disseminated to the
site users regarding any changes to the landscape. This is something that the team has determined to be a simple yet significant part to the overall cohesive path that a project takes from conception to completion.


Future Issues/Plans

The future vitality of the landscape is a potential future issue that depends on the maintenance and monitoring of the native seed mix. Although there are no foreseeable future plans for more sustainable elements to be implemented on the HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus, there is plenty of opportunity for more sustainable installments within the landscape.


Environmental, Social and Economic Benefits

Environmental benefits of the sustainable landscape area that there are reduce emissions form the landscape maintenance equipment, increases in the biodiversity on site, potential for an
increase in wildlife, and an increase in soil health. The social benefits of the sustainable landscape are an increase in air quality with the reduced emissions and a functional example for educating the site users on the ways in which native plants can positively change the landscape. The economic benefits that the sustainable landscape provides is that there is an exponential savings in annual costs to maintain the landscape.


Web Sites/Links

https://newsblog.ext.hp.com/t5/HP-newsroom-blog/Innovation-everywhere-HP-reinvents-campus-landscaping/ba-p/59
http://stackrockgroup.com/hpboise/
http://www8.hp.com/us/en/hp-information/global-citizenship/index.html
http://theconstructivistonline.com/2016/07/21/innovation-everywhere-hp-reinvents-campus-landscaping/


Project Team

The team that worked on the HP Inc. Boise, Idaho Campus redesign span professionals in biology, engineering, construction management, landscape architecture, and landscape care and maintenance. Below is a typical sign in sheet that was present at the integrated design meetings, and shows the project team.

Name Company Position/Role
Steve Birch HP Inc. Sub Regional Manager
Jodi Olson HP Inc. Site Program Manager
Carmen Weber Stack Rock Group SITES Project Designer
Bryan Varner HC Company Project Engineer
Jennifer Trautman Trautman Lawn & Landscape Company Landscape Contractor
Greg Allington McMillen Jacobs Associates Senior Biologist
Jeff Tonkin HC Company Project Manager
Eric Howard JJ Howard Engineers Professional Engineer
Bob Chadwick HP Inc. Site Facilitator
Will Howard Stack Rock Group Landscape Architect
Dan Ogle Intermountain Rangeland Consultants Rangeland and Plant Materials Consultant
Jesson Buster Stack Rock Group Landscape Designer
Celeste Valle University of Idaho Development of Site Performance Monitoring

Contact for Further Information

Will Howard, PLA, ASLA
Stack Rock Group
404 S. 8th St. #154
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 345-0500
StackRockGroup.com


Appendix A – Site Maintenance Plan

Site Maintenance Plan