Snow creates dangerous paths for students

Story by Beth LeValley

Photo by Luke Nankivell

snow_luke-w2000-h2000The recent snowfall on campus has created controversy among students and staff at Drake University.

Drake facilities and grounds’ main goal is to keep parking lots, sidewalks, and entrances safe for everyone on campus.

“I hate the snow,” said first-year Brooke Rogers. “But the Drake facilities are always pleasant to deal with, and I’ve never had an issue walking to class.”

Rogers also said she doesn’t have extensive knowledge of Drake’s snow removal policies, but she sees maintenance staff with different equipment around campus.

“Sometimes, there are patches of ice missed. For example, right outside Carpenter (Hall) is always slick,” Rogers said.

Jeff Bosworth, Drake University’s grounds manager, explained the snow removal procedures.

“We are activated if snow reaches two inches or when conditions become a safety hazard. For a snow or ice event that has occurred overnight, we will typically start at 5 a.m. to get campus cleared and ready by 7 a.m.,” said Bosworth.

Bosworth said there are many difficulties in removing snow, but their main goal its to keep  campus safe for students and staff.

Because the winds have been particularly high during recent snowstorms, Drake facilities have had trouble maintaining the sidewalks.

“The type of snow we experienced was light and fluffy, which made it easy to remove but also caused drifting with the high winds, causing us to have to keep going over places multiple times,” Bosworth said.

“After the first big snowstorm, it looked like the snow was just packed down, rather than removed. I’m sure that’s justified with how many people they have, but I’d prefer it all to be cleared,” said first-year Kate Kemper.

The Drake facilities employ eleven people, and for most snow events, that is a healthy number.

“When we have snow events like the one earlier last week, it would obviously be nice to have more people, but we can’t staff for a large snow event we get a few times a year. The grounds department can be supplemented with staff from other facilities departments if needed,” Bosworth said. “The custodial staff helps clear the entrances outside of buildings during their work shift.”

“The salt was a little excessive, and I’d like to have cleaner walking paths,” said first-year student Austin Brandes.

He also said he wasn’t sure how many people were staffed and was impressed by the speed of the removal.

“I’m happy with the snow until it snows in April, or in last year’s case, May,” Brandes said.

“People should know by now what shoes to wear in the winter. If you wear proper shoes, you should be fine,” Kemper said.

Bosworth echoed Kemper’s sentiments about footwear.

“Please wear the proper footwear and be aware that there could be slick areas. The Drake grounds works very hard to keep campus safe. Keeping walks, entrances and parking lots safe is our priority when we receive snow and ice,” Bosworth said. “If you see a problem or come across a place that needs attention please contact security or facility services.”

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