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Snow, ice result in falls at Saint Mary’s

Mandi Stirone | Tuesday, February 13, 2007

With sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow accumulation this winter, walking or driving around Saint Mary’s campus has been particularly dangerous.

One College sophomore suffered a hairline fracture after she slipped on the ice.

Lisa Anderson was walking from the Student Center to LeMans last Thursday when she fell and hurt her arm. Anderson didn’t go to Heath and Wellness until the next day, but went to a hospital over the weekend while she was home in Chicago.

Sophomore Beth Alexander said she also has had trouble walking down the sidewalks.

“I have to leave 15 minutes early so I don’t fall in heels outside,” she said.

Senior Ayslinn McGovern said she has to travel at a slower pace to avoid slipping on the snow and ice.

“It’s dangerous to walk more than briskly,” she said. “The steps are horrible because those are covered with ice.”

College Grounds Supervisor Mark Kubacki is in charge of keeping all the sidewalks and entrances safe. There are five other people who help take care of the entrances and walkways, he said. Kubacki said he and his crew begin working at about 7 a.m. every weekday – though sometimes an hour or two earlier – and continue to work around campus throughout the day.

The entranceways are shoveled by hand and then the walkways are done using the College’s three plows – two ride-on plows and one that’s pushed, he said.

Every entrance has its own container of de-icer, which is used as needed, but in sub-zero temperatures the de-icers don’t work very well, Kubacki said. The crew also juggles between being environmentally conscious and being as safe as possible, he said.

After spending the day working on campus, the crew comes back in the evening around 8 p.m. or later to work on the sidewalks, especially for late night events, he said. They also always have at least one person working on Sunday.

Judith Johns, the executive director of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, said the sisters also hire a grounds crew to take care of the roadways and the parking lots. They arrive at various times, often around 2 and sometimes 4 a.m. to work on the main roadways and parking lots, she said. Johns also said that there is a priority list of what gets done first.