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Grounds crew readies for winter

Front-End Loader and Salt Pile
SNOW CREW: Grounds Crew member Nick Flood piles the 100 tons of salt, which was delivered in late November, in preparation for the winter season.

Winter begins early for the Grounds Department and the Auto Shop.

Both crews, which operate under the Facilities Operations and Maintenance Department, must get the equipment, tools and materials ready before the first snowfall.

The staff maintains four miles of roadways and walkways, three bridges, 33 handicap-accessible ramps, 39 parking lots, 43 crosswalks, 42 outside stairways and 64 fire hydrants. Dale Sutton, grounds supervisor, said that larger storms may require additional staff pulled from other Facilities Operations and Maintenance departments.

Preparation for winter begins in late fall. There are more than 10 trucks, tractors and pickups that need to be equipped with plows, blowers and brushes. The crews must also prepare snow blowers and front-end loaders and acquire plenty of shovels to get through the season.

The crew also treats the 100 to 300 tons of salt that will be used to melt ice and snow on the campus's walkways, roads and parking lots.

The Grounds Department is overseen by Sutton and the Auto Shop is run by Jim Miller; both crews are supervised by Gary Buckman. The grounds staff is Anthony Bell, James Colantuoni, John Countryman, Walter Coutant, Nick Flood, Mark Quick, Edmundo Ruiz, Greg Sanfilipp, William Secor, Russel Warren and Thomas Welch. The Auto Shop staff is Steve Ryder and Sean Asendorf.

When there is inclement weather and no staff on campus, Sutton is notified of hazardous conditions by University Police.

The crews' other responsibilities during the winter include monitoring ice thickness on the ponds; performing preventative maintenance of equipment and tools used throughout the year; removing trees; maintaining campus signage.