Keeping winter weather at bay

Students may not realize the work that goes into keeping their pathways to class free of snow. This winter season, the grounds crew at UVM has worked harder and spent more time because of heavy snow, Head of Grounds Crew Rose Leland said. “This winter we have spent more than average, with many back to back storms and record-breaking amounts of snow,” Leland said. Each year, the grounds crew receives money in “lump-sum” to be divided amongst different tasks on campus, she said. “Other budgets supporting snow removal are Transportation and Parking which pays for snow removal in the parking lots and Residential Life and Davis Center,” Leland said. Jim Barr, head of Transportation and Parking, said they believe the amount of money spent this year will be higher than previous years. Since safety is their top priority, there is not a cap on what is spent for the winter season, Leland said. Grounds crew is on call through March, so if it starts snowing at any time during the day and night, they will be called in to plow, Leland said. “It is only after the storm has ended and we’ve completed plowing that we can focus on hauling snow,” she said. Heavy snow can take weeks to clean up, Leland said. “The hours spent on storms depend on the severity and type of storm,” she said. “The severity of the storm affects when workers can plow on campus.” Most of the plowing happens at night to avoid traffic from students and vehicles, Leland said. Grounds crew does not stop working until the campus is clean, Leland said. The priority is to clear the walking paths and parking lots, she said. “Parking lots are built for maximization of parking and not snow removal which means we end up blocking parking with snow piles during the storms,” Leland said. There have not been any problems with parking on campus, with the heavy amounts of snow, Barr said. “We have not had any more problems this year, primarily due to the fact that the biggest snow day occurred during spring break,” he said. First year Whitney Keefner said that the University does a pretty good job keeping the parking lots clear. With of the large amount of snow this winter, it takes longer to clean off the car and around it, Keefner said.