Winter is coming, staff and students should be prepared



In an interview with the Kentucky Kernel, UK President Eli Capilouto said that he hoped that last year’s “Snowmageddon” was a fluke. As winter quickly approaches, many students will shiver in loathsome anticipation knowing they will have to walk across campus in the freezing weather and snow to get to class. Despite Capilouto’s hopes, when the snow begins to fall, UK students can students can trust the Physical Plant Division to keep them warm in class and dorms and clear the sidewalks. UK Physical Plant’s website states their priorities as, “Physical Plant’s goal is to keep the campus clear and safe for all the students, faculty, staff, and visitors.” “We’re always prepared for it and we’re always unprepared for it,” said Manager of Grounds and Garage George Riddle in regard to the large amount of snow UK got last year. Superintendent of Grounds Jerry Hart said that UK is capable of taking care of up to eight inches, but after that, they have difficulty keeping up with the accumulation. UK typically has contractors for salt and parking lot scraping but those fell through last year, which caused some logistical problems. These lost contracts contributed to a lot of issues that students saw last year: lack of salt, poor scraping and icy sidewalks. Director of the Physical Plant Division Kevin Kreide confirmed that all contracts are secured this year, which will help make the scraping and salting smoother and efficient. UK’s top priority for snow removal is the hospital system and after making sure the hospitals are clear, the next step is clearing a path for students, faculty and staff. Riddle said the clear paths might not be ones students are used to taking, but paths into all classrooms are available. Typically, if there is a lot of snow, the path that will be clear will led to a handicap accessible entrance, so all university members can make it into their buildings. At its disposal, the university has 56 grounds department members, about 1,500 tons of salt, 21 trucks with plows and small salt spreaders, two large dump trucks with 10-inch blades for clearing streets, two dump trucks for salt, three trucks with 2-3 yards of salt and 22 sidewalk scrapers that can be anything from golf carts to tractors. While most students would rather have classes canceled so they can sit and drink hot chocolate, and administration would rather not deal with the headache of snow days, UK is in good hands with the Physical Plant. The grounds department does the best they can at keeping campus accessible for students, and when snow is falling at over an inch an hour, it’s virtually impossible to keep snow off the ground. The Physical Plant spends many hours scraping sidewalks, parking garages and streets around campus; and coordinating a massive staff to keep the university up and running. Likewise, Lexington Emergency Management’s public information officer John Bobel said that they have plans for a better, same or worse winter than last year. While the mayor has final say in implementation, Emergency Management works closely with the National Weather Service and plans far in advance for upcoming storms. Emergency Management also works with local utility

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