NYIT’s Battle Against The Snow

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Snow, as all of us who have grown up in the New York area know, can be both a blessing and a curse.  When the ground gets covered in snow and school is cancelled, some—maybe you—see it as a blessing.  Others—particularly the people who have to clean it up—might start cursing.  Such was the case on Thursday, January 27th—the fourth day of the new semester at NYIT.  A storm on Wednesday brought 12 to 18 inches of snow on top of what already was there from previous storms.  NYIT students were given a delayed opening till 2 pm due to the inclimate weather.

But NYIT’s Facilities Operations Department couldn’t turn over in their bed and get some more sleep like the rest of us. They had to spring into action before the sun was up, and were able to clean up the snow on campus.  “Normally the crew starts at 6 am, but if the storm is an evening storm, we just come in and get started,” says Mr. William Marchand, Director of Facilities Operations at NYIT.  The department is always prepared by monitoring the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) website (NOAA.gov) to get an idea of how much snow they will get before they get it in advance.  Everything is looked over so the snow is taken care of and does not become an issue.

A key weapon in their battle against snow is rock salt, which is used to make sure there is no ice on the roads and walkways.  The amount of rock salt used per storm depends on how bad the storm is.  The Facilities Operations Department stores about 60 tons of rock salt under the tents near Simonson House.  As the rock salt supply decreases, the department gets more delivered in order to keep a large supply.  So far 210 tons of rock salt has been used for this winter—which should give you an idea of how bad it has been!

Facilities also deploy an army of vehicles: There are five, four wheel drive One Ton Ford model trucks for plowing on the campus.  Two of the trucks are dump trucks with plows and the other three trucks are sanders with one of the sanders being a larger truck.  The bulldozers are used only for big areas such as parking lots.

After the snow piles up to about 1 to 2 inches, the workers of Facilities Operations start treating the roads to get rid of the snow.  As the snow falls, the campus is worked on to keep the new snow from becoming a problem.  The department does not allow the snow to pile up more than 4 to 5 inches.

There are on average, 20 to 25 employees working on the campus once the snow removal process started.  6 employees work on the trucks, 2 employees work on the additional skids and 1 employee works as a front end loader.  One worker goes to each vehicle.  The rest of the workers are scattered across the campus to do walkways, sidewalks, pathways and staircases.  “I think our process is pretty effective, all things considered,” says Mr. Marchand.

The snow, he says, is cleaned up by no later 7:30 am to 8 am.  Mr. Marchand has a large amount of experience with snow removal on the campus with the three years he has worked at NYIT.  The blizzard we had on Wednesday, January 26, created additional work for NYIT’s Facilities Operations.  Grassy areas covered with snow needed to be cleared to make areas to put future snow.

Mr. Marchand and his staff make sure things are handled effectively.  Having enough supplies, making sure NYIT supplies a large enough budget for snow removal, getting the snow cleaned up by a certain time, everything is handled.  “This is a team effort by everybody in the facilities in the department.  No matter how much snow we get this winter, we will make sure the students and faculty are safe,” says Marchand.  The Facilities Operations Department was presented with a challenge on Christmas.  But the timing was perfect for them.  There were no students on campus and the employees were still in town to help out.  The clean up process for Christmas took 2 days for the workers to clean up.

When there are students on campus, the clean up job becomes more challenging.  Cars are moving on the campus roads and the snow still needs to be maintained at the same time.  The most challenging part of the clean up process is the parking lots during normal school days because cars are parked in the lots, which means the trucks need to work around them.  The trucks clean up what they can and then go back to the parking lots and take care of the remaining snow when those lots are empty.  “I think they are doing a pretty good job.  I haven’t seen an ice patch on the roads all day,” says Annessa Babic, an NYIT Adjunct Professor who teaches students majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies.

No one knows how many storms this winter holds in store, but one’s thing for sure: NYIT’s Facilities Operations Department will do everything it can to stay one step ahead of the weather and keep the campus clean.

 

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