Facilities to retool snow response after major storm

WKU sophomore Isaac Stevens of Morganfield brushes snow off of his car on East Main Ave. on Wednesday, Feb. 18.


In the wake of last week’s foot of snow, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” has never seemed more applicable, especially to WKU facilities.

What some have dubbed “snowpocalypse” or “snowmageddon” dropped nearly 15 inches of snow throughout the state, which led to WKU officials canceling classes for the entire week. 

The document titled “WKU Facilities Management Snow Plan” sought to anticipate the winter weather challenges. Its 55 pages included detailed maps with snow clearance sections and priorities of action. 

Chief facilities officer Bryan Russell said despite the difficulties, the people who worked did an “outstanding” job. Russell noted that preexisting plans would be readjusted.

“I’m going to make some improvements to the plan for big snow,” he said. “Typically in the past, with the equipment that we have, which is minimal for snow removal, we had to go to our contingency plan which worked out really well.” 

The maximum accumulation listed in the plan approved in November was 2 to 6 inches of snow, over half of a foot shy of what Bowling Green received early Monday morning. 

WKU’s salt storage facility at South Street holds approximately 100 tons of salt, but is only applied “at the end of each snow event,” according to the plan. 

“I think we’re going to do….probably identify priority routes in the new plan,” Russell said. “We’ll probably improve the plan over what we have. Open up critical paths.”

However, freezing temperatures over the weekend and continued light precipitation still made traveling conditions difficult. 

Bowling Green senior Brandon Sexton, said he felt that WKU “maybe” should have canceled classes Monday.

“…To get the sidewalks more clear and the parking structures more clear too,” he said.

The top floors of Parking Structure 1, 2 and Alumni Square Garage were closed Monday due to ice, and students dodged icy patches throughout the Hill to find the concrete pathways. 

Even the snow removal document acknowledged room for improvement.

“Consistent with our goals, to continually improve our work processes, we will routinely review the results of this plan and make revisions to improve the effectiveness of our snow and ice control efforts,” the plan said.

President Gary Ransdell praised facilities crew and staff who worked through the snow.

“We have facilities employees who haven’t had a day off since the snow hit,” he said. “…They did a superb job on roads, parking lots, and sidewalks. It was a remarkable performance throughout. They were incredibly dedicated in getting the job done.” 

While Bowling Green hasn’t had such a snowy day since the 1960s, administrators are no longer taking chances. 

“Anytime there’s an event, you can always make improvements,” Russell said. “We’re going to have a post event meeting and improve the plan.”