MSU Landscape Services’ headquarters looks less like an office and more like a command center when a snowstorm is on its way.
“Our favorite channel this time of year is The Weather Channel,” said Gerry Dobbs, MSU’s landscape manager of 30 years.
“These guys are really great to work with,” Dobbs said. “They know that 40,000 people are depending on them and they’re not going to let them down.”
Three emergency response teams are called in during storms to ensure campus stays open and safe for students, faculty and visitors. Dobbs says the teams are very efficient— regardless of the severity of the snowfall.
Workers are maintaining about 50 miles of roadways and 100 miles of sidewalk this year. At six cents per square foot of snow removal, the teams work quickly and efficiently to get the job done.
“A lot of people actually prefer to cut through campus during big storms,” Dobbs said.
Landscape Services also coordinates with roofers on campus to prevent injuries from falling icicles.
“We’re constantly on the look-out for safety concerns on campus,” Dobbs said.
Jim Delinescheff, a Landscape Services group leader on North Campus, has been on the front lines of snow removal at MSU for 35 years. The fact that campus hasn’t closed for snow in 25 years is a testament to how well the workers do their jobs, he said.
“When you talk about the campus, it’s a city,” Delinescheff. “We’re really dealing with the same situations as any city. Only we do it better.”
Hot spots on campus, such as intersections, the main library, the Wharton Center andBreslin Center, are pre-treated with salt water to decrease reaction time when road salt is spread. MSU is one of the few schools in the country that produces its own salt brine treatment.
Last year, the University purchased about $130,000 of salt from Detroit Salt to use on roads, sidewalks, parking lots and ramps.