Dec 012004
Authors: Erin Skarda

When CSU students arrived on campus Monday morning, they did not have to worry about trudging through the approximately 1 foot of snow that fell throughout Larimer County over the weekend.

Instead, students were greeted with plowed streets, shoveled sidewalks and cleared parking lots thanks to the outdoor services and custodial crews of the Facilities Management Department.

Doug Nagel, manager of outdoor services for Facilities Management, said approximately 60 people worked Sunday and Monday mornings to clear the way so students could get to class.

The grounds crew and heavy equipment crew clears everything outside including streets, sidewalks and parking lots. The custodial crew helps out by clearing the snow from doorways and buildings.

As early as midnight on Sunday morning, the heavy equipment crew was hard at work clearing big parking lots on campus. The grounds crew came in at around 3 a.m. Sunday. For the rest of the week the crews will start at 5 a.m. to get a jump-start on the day, Nagel said.

"We will probably be working on this (snowstorm) all week," Nagel said.

Clearing a campus like CSU is a large task, he said.

"Sunday we averaged about 14 hours and then Monday we came back in at 5 a.m. and worked from about 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The (heavy equipment crew) came Monday at 3 a.m. and worked until about 1 p.m.," Nagel said. "With a snow like this we will put in about 22 hours of work on it."

Nagel said the heavy equipment crew uses hydraulic brooms that drop down and spin to brush the snow off the streets. For the parking lots, the crew uses snowplows with blades. Everything else, including doorways and walkways, is done by hand with shovels or snow blowers.

Scott Simonds, an arborist who works for the grounds crew, said he worked on clearing snow from the campus for the last two weekends.

"We will keep going as long as it keeps snowing, and this was a big snow," Simonds said.

Simonds said he arrived on campus at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, climbed in a broom tractor and started clearing the snow from the Oval. He said he worked about 12 hours that day and returned Monday at 4 a.m. for another eight-hour shift.

"I would probably say I have about 20 to 24 hours of overtime built up over the last few storms," Simonds said.

Wednesday morning, Simonds was clearing ice from the curbs around campus, reducing the risk of students slipping and getting hurt.

"It is a never-ending job," Simonds said.

The university has an emergency and severe weather policy manual for dealing with weather issues. In this policy, the university outlined first, second, third and fourth priorities for snow removal procedures, as well as guidelines for cancellations.

Nagel said first priorities include clearing the main streets on campus, including Pitkin and Plum streets, University and Meridian avenues and South Drive and shoveling all sidewalks.

"In case of an emergency (emergency services) can have access to the buildings," Nagel said. "The main priority is to keep the main streets clear, then we branch out and move into the actual parking lots and (residence halls)."

Second priorities include B lots and third priorities include all commuter lots. Residence hall lots are the last priority because the students are already on campus.

Spending long hours in the cold snow can put a damper on the day, but Simonds said he enjoys being on campus during the early morning hours when everything is quiet.

"My least favorite part is getting rudely awoken early in the morning. Sometimes I am not expecting to get up," Simonds said. "Once I'm here usually no one is up so we have the place to ourselves. It is pretty hectic during the day on campus even without the snow."

Simonds said he tries to stay warm by dressing for the weather and working hard.

"Those shovels have a built-in heater if you are working hard enough," Simonds said. "The tractors are heated and after we finish an area we'll climb in the truck and warm up."

Although the work is strenuous, Simonds said getting positive responses from students helps.

"I have been totally amazed at how many people thank us for what we are doing," Simonds said. "It makes it better."

Steve Tulleners, a senior economics major, said he thinks the crew does a good job of clearing the snow.

"(With) getting the snow out of the way, I would say they do a great job," Tulleners said. "I can't really complain about that."

Tulleners said he thinks there is still a lot of ice left on the ground, especially in the parking lots, which can cause a danger for students.

"I've seen about 20 people fall in the last few days," Tulleners said.

Even though he has to work on removing the snow on campus, Simonds said he is hoping for an active snow season.

"There are other things I like to do in the snow other than shovel and move it around," Simonds said. "It looks good so far for this year."


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