The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Last weekend, students wondering when the snow would finally fall got their answer — but some might have received more than they hoped for.

After an unusually warm November, there was speculation as to whether or not Eau Claire would be having snow for the holidays. As of Saturday, however, winter decided to show.

When the snow starts falling, the spotlight lands on Grounds Manager Randy Palmer and his crew. Palmer said the first major snowfall of the
season came more abruptly than they’re used to.

“Usually we don’t have this big of a snowfall for our first real go-around,” Palmer said. “Historically we only begin with a couple inches.”

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Generally, snow plowing is directed by  Palmer, but he waits for a ‘go’ from the police department before beginning.

“We’re just kind of re-vamping our snow removal policy,” Palmer said. “Once we get a half-inch of snow on the sidewalks, or we feel it’s slippery, we get starting with the program.”

The grounds crew generally concentrates their efforts towards campus’ most popular areas — both of which happen to be the most dangerous for walking in the winter.

“The hill is definitely our number one hot spot, it makes up for a whole lot of other problems as well,” Palmer said. “But the footbridge is probably a close second for us.”

Because of the amount of precipitation coming from the river, Palmer said a lot of ice accumulates on those areas in the winter. Unfortunately, those also happen to be the most frequented areas on campus, which leads to a number of falls.

Freshman Kevin Stock considers the amount of ice on sidewalks around campus a real issue.

“I almost fell two times in a row just between classes,” Stock said. “Even after plowing and salting happens there’s still ice and I feel like a lot of people are falling.”

Chelsea Bossell, another freshman, also saw a problem with the slick sidewalks and roads on campus.

“I haven’t actually fallen yet, but I have a feeling I will,” Bossell said. “Maybe funding should be increased for the snow removal program, just so that there’s a more active watch on the ice.”

Although there is still quite a bit of unavoidable ice on campus, Palmer and his crew are at work at all hours of the day to keep the ice down to a minimum.

“Starting Saturday, I had people come in around noon until five or so, and the whole crew was back in at midnight to plow, as well as Monday morning at around 4 (a.m.),” Palmer said. “So really, these guys don’t get much of a weekend with all of this work.”

Terry Classen, director of Facilities Management, said the grounds crew’s efforts shouldn’t go unnoticed.

“I’m definitely proud of our grounds peoples’ work,” Classen said. “They sacrifice sleep and family to do what they did on a day like Sunday.”

As for the rest of the winter, Palmer and his crew will stay hard at work keeping the sidewalks plowed and the ice to a minimum.

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful