After a snowstorm hits the college campus, FLC Police determine whether or not to close E. 8th Ave., commonly referred to as the front hill, and request that Physical Plant services get to work on the snow removal process.
To determine unsafe driving conditions, the officer on duty will drive down the front hill in a patrol car and break to see if it slips or slides, Brett Deming, the Fort Lewis College chief of police, said.
Patrol officers also monitor roads to see if other cars are struggling to get up the front hill.
Weather forecast and time of day affect how icy the roads will be and are also important to keep track of.
After unsafe driving conditions are determined, patrol officers will close the gates and turn on the lights with help from the Durango Police Department, Physical Plant Services, or the parking officer, Deming said.
From there, officers inform Physical Plant Services know that the front hill is closed and will request that they use their snow removal equipment, like their snow plow, where necessary.
“As soon as they can get around to it, they will go ahead and plow the hill,” Deming said. “I say ‘get around to it’ because the front hill requires a lot of resources.”
If Physical Plant Services uses all of their resources to keep the front hill open, then they neglect the rest of campus, he said.
Due to the nature of the front hill, police close it often just to be safe, he said.
To better ensure their safety when there are unsafe driving conditions, Deming recommends that students clear snow off of the windshield, the hood, and the roof of their cars.
Deming said that even though some people don’t think about it, the snow on the roof of a car can slide down and cover the windshield.
Deming also recommends that students make sure their car is in good condition and that they put snow tires on their cars.
In addition to police and Physical Plant Services, housing has a role to play in the snow removal process on campus.
A custodian is assigned to either a building or a building complex and must remove entry area snow, James Estelle, Assistant Director for Facilities, said.
Other than that entry area snow, Physical Plant Services is responsible for all other snow removal on campus.
“Everything else falls on them because they have all of the heavy equipment,” Estelle said. “We just have snow shovels and two snow blowers.”
To help the snow removal process go smoothly, students should be mindful of where they park their cars, he said.
Physical Plant Services will call housing if there are cars in the way of the snow removal process.
When this happens, housing will have students move their cars to the stadium lot.
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