Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Feb. 3, 2011 Volume 32, No. 18

Dedicated staff members work to clear campus

Employees work to clear campus.

Early Thursday morning, Alicia Ciolli, left, and Katie Martins stop in Speakers Circle to fill salt buckets. Their job is to keep stairs and ramps clear in the central part of campus. The task is difficult. With temperature hovering at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, "Everything turns to ice," Ciolli says.

2011 Blizzard

Campus Facilities has been on the job day and night

A blizzard hit the country, and Campus Facilities employees went to work.

“We want everybody to be safe,” says Alicia Ciolli, a landscape services groundskeeper with Campus Facilities. The task is difficult. With temperatures near or below zero, “Everything turns to ice,” Ciolli says.

Ciolli and Katie Martins, a sophomore from Washington, Iowa, normally work as part of the herbaceous plant crew. They got pulled into extra duty this week in anticipation of and following the Feb. 1, 2011, blizzard that pummeled Columbia with 17.5 inches of snow. On Feb. 2, another .2 inches of snow fell for total accumulation of 17.7 inches. The MU campus has been closed three days — Feb. 1, 2 and 3 — possibly a first in university history.

Ciolli and Martins’ work schedule was 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday. Today, they started work at 6 a.m. and planned to work until 10 p.m.

Not having students, faculty and staff around for three days has been great, they report, because it makes the job of clearing easier.

Gary Ward, director of Campus Facilities, reports that roughly 170 full-time Campus Facilities staffers have helped clear the snow from campus. His recommendation to Chancellor Brady J. Deaton later today is that “we’ll have this campus ready for tomorrow morning.” Hauling snow off campus will continue for several weeks.

Ward says credit extends beyond Campus Facilities. It’s been a major team effort in conjunction with Campus Dining Services “who kept us fed,” Residential Life, MU Police Department, and the MU Student Center and Student Recreation Complex “who kept our students entertained.” With the chancellor’s support and appreciation, some workers stayed at the nearby hotels so they’d have “a warm place to sleep,” Ward says.

“I could not be more proud of this crew,” Ward says. Because of the wind and extremely cold temperatures, it is the most difficult situation he’s encountered in 30 years in the business. “I’d put this crew up against any in the nation.”