Snow costs WKU labor, materials

Caitlin Carter

The more than 20 inches of snow already recorded this winter in Bowling Green comes with a price for WKU.

For the second straight year, Bowling Green has seen above-average snow fall — already at 21.2 inches this winter, according to Greg Goodrich, meteorology program leader.


Because of this unusual amount of snow, WKU has incurred many costs related to its removal.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, said these costs mainly come from factors associated with overtime labor and material.

Material costs include salt, pre-spray, equipment and necessary fuel, said John Osborne, vice president for Campus Services and Facilities.

Osborne said there have been five snow events in total this winter that have called for serious attention from facilities management crews.

The first three events alone cost $23,363 in overtime labor and materials, Osborne said.

“And that doesn’t include the last two snow events,” Osborne said.

Landscaping Supervisor Doug Price said the last two snow falls, taking place on Jan. 25 and Feb. 7, cost $3,071 and $6,115, respectively.

During last week’s heavy snow, extra workers were called in to aid in its removal, along with the 25 regular landscape crew members, Price said.

“This is the first time some of our workers have ever seen this much snow,” Price said. “In the late 80s and early 90s we had a bunch of snow like this, but not recently.”

Osborne said the facilities department has been very efficient in removing snow on campus sidewalks, parking lots and roadways.

“They have worked so many long, hard hours in these adverse conditions,” Osborne said.

Osborne said many times, the crews will work late into the night and early in the morning before students are up to make sure campus is in an acceptable condition for travel.

In the event of a snow fall, costs to WKU normally come from material and labor, but Osborne said there is some cost from early closures and delays of campus restaurants.

Last Wednesday, all campus restaurants closed early due to inclement weather, with some closing as early as 2 p.m., and they didn’t reopen until noon the following day.

“There might be some potential theoretical costs that come with the closures of dining facilities,” Osborne said. “But they’re not as significant in the grand scheme of things.”