Campus officials struggle to clear snow and ice

Maura Zurick

Winter weather conditions can make driving to campus and walking to classes dangerous for students and faculty.

Chris Kowalski, a sophomore accounting major, said the winter conditions were certainly hazardous for him on Dec. 5 when he fell.

“I was walking on a small paved hill by the side of Van Deusen Hall that leads down into the Art Building’s rear parking lot,” said Kowalski. “I slipped on ice and slid down the hill about five feet on my right leg, breaking both my tibia and fibula in the process.”

Kent State Parking Services and Campus Environment and Operations will keep trying to make the parking lots, sidewalks and some roads leading to campus safer for students and faculty by continuing to plow and pile snow.

Larry Emling, manager of Parking Services, said that Parking Services doesn’t guarantee that campus walkways and parking lots will not be slippery.

Parking Services is responsible for only the parking lots on campus. They hire contractors from a company called Naragon to pile and plow snow in the lots, but they are not responsible for salting the lots. Emling said that they usually have 15 or 20 snow vehicles clearing the lots.

Campus Environment and Operations’ parking maintenance is in charge of salting the drive isles in the parking lots. Parking maintenance also salts the area around each emergency phones on campus and helps to dig students’ cars out of snow.

Heather White, manager of Campus Environment and Operations, said, “Sometimes it’s really hard to keep up with the winter conditions. We have two full-time staff members and two part-time and we have to make sure the lots, sidewalks and some campus roads are clear. We are going to keep trying our hardest to clear the snow and ice. We are also going to be available more on the weekends.”

The rock salt used to salt most of campus will not be effective if it is below 17 degrees outside. Campus Environment and Operations uses Magic-O, a form of salt that can eliminate black ice but it is very expensive, according to White.

“Last semester, we had at least one person working all day,” said White. “One week we had two employees put in 25 hours of overtime each. I want people to be aware that we are out there working and we have people shoveling eight hours a day.”

Emling said students and faculty should wear appropriate shoes and boots during the winter months.

Kowalski had his own suggestions about how Kent State could keep the sidewalks safer this semester.

“I feel as though some prevention could have come from more lighting that covers every walkway on campus and better salting in a timely fashion,” Kowalski said.

Contact Maura Zurick at [email protected].