Plowing down to business

The+grounds+team+worked+to+get+all+the+snow+cleared+after+a+snow+emergency+was+called+in.

The grounds team worked to get all the snow cleared after a snow emergency was called in.

By Shelby Tankersley

Contrary to what some might think, the sidewalks and parking lots are not plowed and salted by the snow fairy. OU has a slew of employees that take care of it.

Last week’s snow day brought approximately 13 inches of snow to campus, a hefty amount. As the residents scrambled to get their cars moved for OU’s snow emergency policy, the grounds team worked to get all of the snow cleared.

The grounds team has had its share of headaches when it comes to snowfall and cars being in the way, but things have changed for the better. 

Randy Drewry, the supervisor of grounds maintenance, said the new snow emergency policy that OU is implementing this year has already helped out a lot.

“In prior years, we had a problem with the housing students removing their cars from the lots so we could plow,” Drewry said. “So this year they instituted a snow emergency policy where cars must be removed from overnight lots. When we came in to plow at 11, all of the cars had been moved.”

Constance Jones, the manager of custodial and grounds, agreed that the snow emergency policy has been a big help.

“It made it easier to plow the lots because vehicles were moved into the parking structures,” Jones said. “This was the first time we used the policy, and I thought it worked well. I thought there was a lot of cooperation from the students.”

Drewry said another big help has been the OU Alert texting system, which helps with the removal of cars. The grounds employees used to have to knock on doors to get cars moved. Now, anyone on the texting list is informed when there’s an emergency.

Drewry said the employees have had to work long hours to get rid of the snow, especially with last week’s snow day.

“We have a staff of 17 and I have a few mechanics, so it’s not like we have a lot of people working,” Drewry said. “Sunday into Monday we worked 16 to 17 hours. Some people put in 20 hours that day, and then they came back and put another 12 to 16 hours.”

At a minimum, he said everyone put in at least 11 hours.

“I had the entire grounds staff working that day,” Drewry said. “This was a good storm to have a lot of people show up and help out.”