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Randolph to save money by planting perennials

Hector Montoya (left), and Hector Perez, Fairways Landscaping service professionals, plant flowers around the Missing Man Monument on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, July 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rich McFadden)

Hector Montoya, left, and Hector Perez plant flowers around the Missing Man Monument on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, July 24, 2012. Montoya and Perez are Fairways Landscaping service professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Rich McFadden)

Hector Montoya (left), and Hector Perez, Fairways Landscaping service professionals, clear ground clutter around the Clark House on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, July 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rich McFadden)

Hector Montoya, left, and Hector Perez clear ground clutter around Clark House at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, July 24, 2012. Montoya and Perez are with Fairways Landscaping. (U.S. Air Force photo/Rich McFadden)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- To anyone who has ever visited Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, it should be clear why the location is often called, "the Showplace of the Air Force."

With unique architecture like building 100, nicknamed the "Taj Mahal," the flags that line Harmon Drive and outstanding landscaping are just a few things that make JB Randolph, the "showplace."

With a need to develop a cost-conscious culture, Randolph leaders have replaced annual plants with perennials to save money.

"Thousands of people come to Randolph every day," said Richard Trevino, the 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron director. "Base appearance is a very important aspect for the historical perspective of the base and is a very noticeable factor as people drive on base. By changing to perennials, we can show everyone the Air Force is not only committed to being good stewards of taxpayers' dollars, but also dedicated to preserving the historical significance of Randolph."

Once the perennials are rooted, the future costs of landscaping are expected to decrease dramatically. The replacement of annuals with perennials will eliminate the costs associated with purchasing and planting every quarter.

"Annuals will grow and flower for only one season," said John Howry, the 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron landscape architect. "Perennials are plants that will continue to flower every year. Replacing annuals with perennials creates a more sustainable landscape and lowers maintenance costs. Annuals were being replaced four times a year due to their short lifespan. Perennials only need to be planted once."

The estimated savings resulting from the change are expected to reach about $40,000 annually.

"We have saved a lot on our grounds maintenance contract in the past couple of years by simply changing our acquisition strategy, which has resulted in more competitive pricing," Howry said. "I personally believe it is important for everyone to be prudent spenders of government resources and for the Air Force to consolidate its expenditures, reduce waste and achieve a more efficient way of doing business."

But while the flowers will continue to contribute to the base's looks, they now represent a cost-conscious culture.

"Cost consciousness should be part of everyone's daily life," Trevino said. "Being a good steward of taxpayers' dollars is important."

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