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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Snowstorm Cripples University Maintenence

    TheNortheast was blown away by last week’s intense snowstorm, which left themany cities scrambling to take control of the enormous workload that had fallenonto their budgets. Facilities managers and departments at Stony BrookUniversity similarly worked to combat the storm, but ended days of work withmixed success.

    ‘?Weworked with three goals in mind. First, we had to ensure life safety, thenguarantee access to campus, and finally work on convenience for pedestrians andcommuters,’ said Michael Klein, Director for Transportation and ParkingServices.

    OnSunday night, campus personnel arrived to begin planning for the snowstorm thatwas predicted to be a record setter. The tasks were allotted amongst differentdepartments, including the West Campus Physical Plant, which was in charge ofclearing major roadways, the hospital and parking lots, and Campus Residences,which oversaw snow removal on residential paths and dining areas.

    ‘?Webegan work on Sunday to clear roads to the hospital and primary routes thatambulances would need to have cleared. There was a tremendous effort on thepart of every department,’ Klein said.’

    Whilethe main roads were being cleared, Facilities Management worked to takestudents off the roads. Sport Utility Vehicles served as ‘?Go in theSnow’ vehicles, taking students to their residence halls or to work.Plows drove through main roads, clearing main roads and critical arteries tothe hospital.

    Meanwhile,Campus Residences had begun its bout with the storm. With four plows, two ofwhich are antiquated, a tractor, and equipment rented from the Universitycontractor, maintenance workers cleared quad paths and roadways. As thesnowfall increased, these plows could no longer handle the increased demand,and went out of commission for several hours, until they were fixed by SBUmechanics.

    Ineffect, the snowplows did not effectively clear the route several key areas. ToStony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which responds to University, Day CareCenter, and the Veterans Home emergency calls was left obstructed by the snow.

    ‘?Thesnowplows weren’t able to effectively clear the area in front of theambulances. In the days following the storm, there were problems, with cars andsnow blocking the road by Roosevelt Quad. Luckily there were no seriousincidents. In the future it would be advisable to reevaluate thesituation,’ said Philip Aubrey, the Corps’ 1st Assistance Chief.

    ‘ ‘?Weplan our budget and purchases according to five years of [snowfall] records.What we discovered on Sunday was that the snow was coming down harder than wecould clean it up. Some of the trucks started getting stuck,’ said BaycanFideli, Assistant Director of Campus Residences. ‘?Even the contractorthat we hired couldn’t keep up, and he had to hire contractors to workfor him.’

    Residents,were also left to deal with several feet of snow unaided. ‘?Theyshould’ve cleared the snow faster. If they couldn’t handle it, theyshould’ve cancelled classes. It was unsafe fro students to walk throughthe snow. It was hard for commuters to come on at 5 p.m. on Tuesday too,’said resident Eldo Kuriakose.

    CampusResidences attempted to accommodate everyone, but found that resources came upshorthanded. ‘?Our first priority was handicapped students, and we workedthe whole day to just clear the front of buildings,’ said Fideli.

    Amaintenance worker who asked not to be named commented that the Campus hastreated its residents differently. ‘?As far as the handicap walkways notbeing shoveled, it’s been that way for years. ‘ When we mention itwe’re told that there are no handicap people living in thisbuilding.’ I just feel bad for the students trying to get around,’he said.

    Fideliurges residents to contact RHD’s and Campus Residences if they havetrouble in the snow. ‘?If we missed something, we have to know. Go to yourRA, and your RhD,’ he said.

    Parkinglots also became a major concern for students, with cars completely covered bysnowdrifts. ‘?The cleanup effort was much harder than the initial storm.We couldn’t dig them out because we didn’t want to take the risk ofputting equipment and cars at risk,’ Fideli said.

    Parkingneeds had to be met by Tuesday night, when classes opened again. The snow thathad accumulated in each parking lot was pay loaded overnight to the back cornerof South P Lot. Commuter students would not be affected because the area wouldnot encroach on regular parking areas, said Klein. ‘?Typical high levelutilization would fill 75% of the lot. The back right corner we dumped the snowin saw almost no student use.’

    Thetotal cost of the snowstorm is estimated to be more than the University hadallotted for the entire winter season. The entire operation is expected to top$350,000, a figure that will only increase with the projected snowfall for theend of this week.

    Asof last Wednesday, Campus Residences is said to have 3 plows out of commission.’?Today (2/19/03) we were down to one truck, because within the last twodays we lost 3 trucks. One is at the transmissions shop off-campus, one isbeing fixed on campus because its steering knuckle went out, this was thespreader, and the third truck lost its power steering unit,’ said amaintenance worker.

    ‘?Ourmain concern right now is repairing equipment. We have to look at our budget,and stretch the dollar as much as possible, with safety in mind,’explained Fideli. ‘?We’re going to have to adapt to the conditions.We have to rely on people, who can be fatigued, equipment and the luck of thestorm.’

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