Heavy snow takes its toll on BU staff, equipment

This winter has been one of Peoria’s snowiest on record, and the consistent snowfall is taking its toll on Bradley snow removal staff and equipment.

“We have struggled,” Grounds Supervisor Stan Glazier said. “We have an eight-person full-time staff always on call and a volunteer staff from the custodial and maintenance staff. Depending upon the snow event severity, we have to start at 3 or 4 a.m. at times, and then work until 5 or 6 p.m.”

Glazier said the snow equipment purchased three years ago has already begun to wear down because of harsh Peoria winters.

“The salt spreaders are going down so they need repairs, and then we’re compensating for the work we can’t get done-there’s a lot of cost involved,” he said. “It adds up significantly over time. I’m going through three to four pallets of ice melt into mid-December, and if we keep getting snow every four days that’s really going to take a toll on the equipment and the personnel.”

In addition to excess snowfall, some of the new construction on campus has taken a toll on the staff as well.

“We have contractors on standby to help us with the parking deck, especially the one on Main Street,” Glazier said. “Our goal has shifted to clearing that first for the commuters, whereas in the past they just parked on the street.”

Glazier said he plans to face the heavier winter snowfall with two additional full-time staff members.

“Snow is very labor-intensive,” he said. “And we will have a new quad and landscaping to help justify new staff. We’re always looking to tweak our plan.”

National Weather Service Meteorologist Kirk Huettl said this winter season has been record-breaking for Peoria.

“Last winter was Peoria’s second snowiest, and this year so far is the third,” he said. “We are currently at 29.6 inches, and we are usually at 15. At this time last year we were at 21, so we’re running quite a bit ahead of that.”

Huettl said with the February forecast calling for above-average snowfall, the overall winter precipitation average could beat out last year’s totals.

Despite the snow and ice covering the ground, many students agree the grounds are being well taken care of.

“Are the paths clear? Not always,” said senior industrial engineering major Tomas Nisenbom. “But are they clear enough? Yes. I don’t know how the parking lots are.”

Junior mechanical engineering major Andrew Agostini said he felt the same way.

“[The paths] are covered sometimes, but they usually get clear enough,” he said. “It doesn’t seem too bad. I think they do a good job with that.”