Where does all that snow go?

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Graphic by Spencer Light | The Broadside (Contact: slight@cocc.edu)

By Emma Kaohi | The Broaside (Contact: ekaohi@cocc.edu)

As the winter creeps up upon us, the majority of us are preparing by heading to the Columbia outlet, trying to find the cutest yet most functional pair of snow boots, and loading up on puffy vests and jackets.

For Mike Beaulieu and the rest of the Grounds Maintenance department at Central Oregon Community College, their winter preparations fall far deeper than that.

Having already started to prepare for the rigid winter Central Oregon’s about to undergo, Beaulieu and his team have  lengthy actions in which they must take to keep COCC up and running.

Beaulieu explained that him and his team are gathering their equipment, checking the trucks for any repairs that may be needed, and equipping the trucks with plows.

In addition, they are also sorting out the job duties that need to be done to ensure the smooth running of the near coming season.

As Beaulieu showed an overview of job positions and who is to cover what, he also went over the campus mapping system used in event of heavy snow fall.

There are areas on campus which are a priority to plow first in the event of a snow storm. T Areas such as Loop Road, College Receiving Road and down the backside of the Boyle Education Center leading to the Campus Services building . “If all the computers shut down in Pioneer [Hall] due to the weather, we would need to be able to get IT up there,” Beaulieu explained.

After these priority areas cleared, the Grounds Department then follows a yellow lined map with other areas to cover. This map includes roads such as Campus Village Way and Alpine Way.

The priority areas are hit at about 4 a.m.. Depending on the severity of the storm, it is in plan to be able to reach the yellow lined areas at about 7 a.m. according to Beaulieu.

If the red lined areas are not able to be completed by 7 o’clock, there is a large possibility that the campus will be closed for the day, Beaulieu explained.

In the event that the storm hits too hard or the Grounds Department is not able to tackle this large task alone, a costly subcontract with York [a company the department works with] is only necessary to keep things running.

At $23,400, this takes up about 80% of the overall budget at Grounds Maintenance for the winter season.

Due to the snow fall in the winter of 2017, the budget was doubled to $67,427. Beaulieu mentioned  that he isn’t worried about the cost for this winter.

“There will be years where we won’t come close to needing $30,000 for the winter season. So, in the long term spectrum of about 10 years, it balances out,” Beaulieu added..  

This year, the winter budget remains at $30,000, according to Beaulieu.

The next snow we get, and fast approaching it is, as we’re sound asleep and bundled up under our warm blankets and cozy pillows, Mike Beaulieu and the rest of the Grounds Maintenance team will be hard at work to clear the roads and get campus up and ready for another day.

Plowing and piling, this winter is sure to give them a hassall. With Beaulieu’s team as well prepared as they are, it is sure to be under control.

For more information about the Grounds Maintenance department contact Mike Beaulieu at mbeaulieu@cocc.edu. ■

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