Nathan Bridge, News Editor
As Utica College enters the holiday season, decorations and events will not be the only thing it has to prepare for. Like any college in upstate New York, UC has to be ready for the incoming weather, and it has to be prepared to maintain a level of safety, on and around the campus, when there is heavy snowfall.
The college uses three trucks to both plow and salt the campus. According to Utica College Grounds Supervisor Dustin Pritchard, there are 1,000 tons of salt on order through a state contract, and the grounds staff runs through nearly the entire order every year.
Despite the massive, dome-crushing blizzard Stella that occurred last March, the Utica College ground staff will not be receiving more funding, nor are they ramping up their preparations with more equipment.
“With those types of situations, you’re looking at once-per-hundred year kind of storms,” said Facilities Operations and Planning Executive Director Daniel Bollana. “Nobody’s really gonna be prepared for that amount of snow coming down at one time, so most people just have to stay inside and wait until it’s over with.”
Bollana remarked that while most stayed indoors, his staff went outside in the middle of Stella, constantly circling the dome and plowing the surrounding snow. There was no stopping the excessive snowfall, and the dome caved in during the storm.
According to Bollana, the replacement dome will have a new cabling system and will also be more pressurized on the inside, making it more resilient against the elements. It will also be taller, and will have more curvature, so that it will have more snow-shedding capabilities.
Students also have to be concerned for their own safety when there is heavy snow and ice building up on the sidewalks, both of which can accumulate in a couple of hours in the middle of of an upstate winter.
Pritchard recommended that students always wear proper footwear and refrain from rushing in inclement weather.
“Always give yourself extra time to get to classes,” Pritchard said. “The main walkways are always open first, so try to keep to the main walks on campus.”
Bollana stated that while the staff does their best to salt the main walkways on campus, they do not have eyes everywhere and some areas go unchecked.
He encouraged students to take notice of trouble spots, like areas blocked with snow or slicked with black ice, to always report to their resident advisor so that they can let the maintenance staff know. He said they will be quick to move to those areas so that they can ensure they are salted and safe to walk on.