Sitting in a room in the Central Utilities Building, more than a dozen Brock University employees prepared for what they know is coming: snow.
For a University the size of a small city, getting its staff and students safely on and off campus during poor winter weather is of utmost importance.
In the weeks leading up to winter each year, staff members from Facilities Management, Campus Security, Human Resources, Parking, Communications and various other departments get together to go over the plans and strategies to deal with the snow.
Brock’s Ground Services Manager John Dick said the University takes snow removal seriously and provides the resources necessary to get the job done.
“It’s our No. 1 priority in the winter to try and make sure the campus is accessible so that students can get to class and staff are able to park and get through the campus safely,” he said. “We’d like people just to come and get to class or work and it not be a problem.”
The most visible aspect of dealing with winter weather is the snow removal process. Facilities Management has replaced a wheel loader and snowplow since last winter, which will make clearing the snow on the main Brock campus more efficient.
The department has four extra staff members during the winter to deal with the extra duties of clearing snow as quickly as possible before the workday begins.
The plow drivers follow a snow removal priority map that focuses on clearing all of the roadways first, the most-used parking lots second and then lesser-used areas third. At the same time others work on clearing sidewalks and building entrances.
“Each of the two crews includes one person who will work on the roads, two people in the parking lots and two people on the walkways who are all using machines. Then we have two more people who are doing the hand work clearing the entrances and at times the crews’ shifts overlap,” Dick said.
Some new buildings around campus have in-ground systems in front of the main entrances that melt the snow and ice before it has a chance to stick.
For roads, walkways and other areas, salt and icemelt products are important tools that are used. To help keep costs down, Brock is part of a purchasing group with other Niagara public entities such as the Region that buys the products in large quantities.
While Facilities Management crews handle snow removal on main campus, the department works with contractors to take care of the buildings east of Glenridge Avenue, as well as the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Rodman Hall and the Hamilton Campus.