Blizzard conditions engulfed UR for much of this weekend, creating parking problems and barricading sidewalks.
“It snows in Rochester,” Manager of University Facilities and Serivces Dan Schied said. “Our job is to do whatever we can to make it safe for students and faculty as soon as possible. Considering the conditions, I think our staff is doing an excellent job.”
As the snowfall ended on Sunday afternoon, plow drivers and shovelers worked to remove the six-foot drifts so that students could attend classes on Monday. However, they faced more lake effect snow early this week.
With the temperatures falling so low, salt became ineffective in melting the snow which makes it very hard for workers to start to removal process. Tuesday was the first day in which the salt could be utilized effectively.
“We have been outside almost all day with special equipment trying the best we can to clear all the snow,” Schied said. “We are doing a lot better than the rest of the city which I think is an accomplishment.
“The city of Rochester saw approximately 17 inches of snow and is expected to spend a quarter of a million dollars in clean-up,” Schied said.
“Our staff made a lot of sacrifices,” Schied said. “Many of the staff members got hotel rooms and couldn’t even go home to be with their family.”
Sight Services, Inc. is the company that is on contract with UR to handle the snow removal. Many students noticed these sacrifices and were surprised by how quickly much of the snow was cleared.
“Coming from Boston, I didn’t think I could be bothered by snow, but here it just doesn’t seem to stop,” freshman Samantha Lewis said. “I think they’re doing a good job [removing the snow] considering that it was more than three feet high and we still manage to have paths to walk on now.”
Other students were not as impressed.
“We need more workers to help in the clearing,” sophomore Shawn Augustine said. “I know this school has 1.4 billion dollars and we have a big campus. They know it is going to snow — they need more people working to help clean it up. My shoes and pants are getting messed up.”
The staff in charge of shoveling or plowing the snow spent much of the weekend outside in the blizzard type conditions, enduring wind chills of 20 degrees below zero and 35 mph gusting winds. “Throughout Saturday, I felt as through I was in arctic tundra,” freshmen Daniel Goldstein said. “By Monday they had done a really good job at clearing the snow. It’s still not all gone, but it’s much better.”
Another complaint many students have is the snow plowing in the parking lot. “After the snow, my car got plowed in,” sophomore Jen Greenman said. “When they plowed the parking lot they pushed all the snow up against the back of the cars so everyone had to dig their cars out. I think a lot of people were pretty mad.”
“It took me 45 minutes to park my car,” junior Katherine Delbalso said. “For the amount that I pay to park here, I expect much better service.”
However, Schied insists that they are doing the best they can. “When the snow is continual, like it has been, please trust that we are doing the best we can,” Schied said. “We can’t make everything perfect – Mother Nature isn’t perfect. We can work to make it safe for the entire university. We have not had one student call to complain about the snow.”
The snow removal policy states that snowfall that is less than 6 inches is considered a routine occurrence. When snowfall is predicted, staffing for snow removal is determined and early start-times are scheduled the day before. The Grounds Staff also have the ability to monitor local radar to ensure that they are getting up to the minute forecasts and can be prepared for the snow as early as possible.
“This weekend we got one-third of our annual snowfall,” Schied said. “The only advice that I can give to students is to dress for the conditions.”
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