The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson
Sports Editor

Chris moved to Marquette in 2021 and is pursuing a bachelors in entrepreneurship with a minor in computer science. Chris has been the sports editor with the North Wind since August of 2022 and also serves...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

SLIDING INTO THE GAMES — Students dove in headfirst at this years Dead River Games.
Dive into the Dead River Games
Abigail Faix September 21, 2023

NMU grounds crew works to remove snow

The National Weather Service reported that since July 1, 2008, Marquette has experienced 156.1 inches of snow. That’s a little over 12 feet, which would block the entrances to buildings and prohibit cars from entering campus. Amid the piles of snow, large tire tracks are easily unnoticed on the sidewalks, roads and parking lots. These tracks are evidence of work that has been done by the Planning/Grounds Department.

By the time students and faculty arrive on campus, the employees with the Planning/Grounds Department have already put in three to four full hours of work. Jim Thams, associate director of Engineering and Planning/Grounds, said the snow removal process starts as early as 5 a.m. and on heavy snowfall days, at 4 a.m. Certain areas of campus, such as the main parking lots, have priority over others.

“The goal is to get as much space opened up by 8 (a.m.),” said Thams. “The guys try to get as much done as they can before everyone gets here.”

Snow removal is no small task. With only seven people on duty, the snow removal process can take all day. Snowfall from 1 to 4 inches takes eight hours to clear, and 4 to 8 inches takes 12 hours, according to Thams. On Monday, Jan. 8, Marquette received 6 inches of snow. It took 10 hours to clear the snow, putting 150 miles on one of the truck’s odometer that day.

Story continues below advertisement

When there is no snowfall, the crew is busy pushing snow banks back during the day to make room for the rest of the snow that will come in February and March.

Efficiency is always on the crew’s minds. The budget for snow removal comes from NMU’s general fund. This budget allocates only so much money for staff, equipment repairs and materials, such as salt and sand. However, Thams said the department is frugal and conscious of the time and resources put into removing snow on campus.

“If there isn’t an event at the Berry Events Center that day, there’s no reason to put resources over there,” Thams said.

Thams suggested that students, faculty and staff can help the snow removal process by being conscious of parking. Parking on campus is difficult in the winter, but paying attention to where one leaves a car can help.

More to Discover