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  • Jon Dusza, News Editor

A look inside Canisius’s snow removal

By Jon Dusza, News Editor

Over the last couple of weeks, Buffalo and the Canisius campus have been hit by conditions of the Buffalo winter, with snow and ice at times covering the whole city.

Despite this, life at Canisius has remained relatively normal, without much impediment from the snow. Naturally, being a college in Buffalo, it is perhaps to be expected that Canisius would be adept at removing snow. Still, the process that goes into making Canisius accessible is a complicated one. The Griffin sat down with Canisius’s associate director of facilities management, Joseph Snodgrass, to talk about that process.

“The biggest concern is that we always have equipment on campus,” Snodgrass told The Griffin. “There’s always a couple of loaders and salters and pickup trucks.” But among those supplies needed for cleaning up snow, “the big one is to make sure we have enough salt,” salt being one of the most effective melting agents for snow and ice.

Regarding looking at the weather forecast, Snodgrass explained, “If we see something big coming, I’m in constant contact with the Elber’s [the landscaping company that handles snow removal at Canisius] superintendent on site.”

When snow hits the night before a school day, “there’s going to be a presence here at about 1 o’clock in the morning” to begin the removal process. If a snow storm hits during classes, as one did on Monday afternoon, “we focus on commuter parking … [and] areas where we know there’s a lot of student crossing, like Eastwood and Main going back and forth from Lyons … down Jefferson toward Health Science. We keep working on those big, more heavily trafficked paths.”

That said, on days where class is not in session, the priorities change. “We’re always going to make sure that Eastwood is clear for Public Safety,” Snodgrass said, “but on a weekend, are we gonna let Lyons [Hall faculty lot] go? We are, just because nobody’s really here to worry about.” Likewise, if there was a Saturday basketball game, the area by the KAC becomes the focus, since it is the place where there will be the most activity.

Over the past couple of years, a new problem that has arisen for the snow removal team, much like the problem that students have faced, is the lack of parking spaces in Canisius’s post-parking ramp world. Snow is a physical object, therefore it takes up space, and when the square footage from the parking ramp was lost, so was a way for snow to be stored. “We don’t have the luxury you typically see in a commercial lot like a Walmart or a grocery store with those huge snow piles you see,” Snodgrass said. “We don’t have the luxury of using 10 or 12 spots in a parking lot for piling snow. Otherwise we’re gonna get some nasty phone calls.”

Buffalo’s winter this year has been, as all the Buffalo community knows, rather crazy, with many ups and downs. Snodgrass said that this causes more trouble, rather than the persistent but not as severe snow that was a part of other winters. “Over the course of a week if we had 12 inches, week after week, that’s a continuous thing. It’s better than getting blasted, which stresses a lot of equipment and people out.”

When the storm over break came, the snow removal team was called in early, but as the weather got worse, the crew went home out of safety and the fruitlessness of their task. But one member of the crew stayed behind with a front-end loader to keep a pathway clear for Public Safety. By Dec. 26, the campus was clear.

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