Although Whitewater has been lucky enough to not have any snow accumulation yet this season, university and city officials say they are prepared for the snow when it does fall.
Facilities Planning and Management team is in charge of clearing the sidewalks on campus.
Buildings and Grounds Support Coordinator of Residence Life David Skelton said the only areas Residence Life are responsible for is clearing the areas outside of dorm entries
“We don’t run any equipment,” Skelton said. “We just have students using shovels to clear the areas around dorm entrances.”
Skelton said the students Residence Life employs for snow removal are on-call during early hours of the morning to make ensure the doorways are clear before students get up for classes.
Although snow removal is inevitable nature, senior Francesca Yracheta said she and other students in wheelchairs had difficulty last winter moving around on campus.
“There was a lot of snow and ice accumulation on the sidewalks last winter, especially in curb cut-outs,” Yracheta said. “[The curb cut-outs] were clogged up and the ice chunks would cause my wheels to get stuck or would be too big for me to get over.”
Yracheta said she missed two or three classes last semester due to not being able to make it because of snow and ice.
Yracheta said she understands snow removal is timely and resource consuming for the university.
“I understand that we live in Wisconsin, and we get a lot of snow here in the winter but I think the campus could do a better job to keep on top of it before it gets out of hand,” Yracheta said. “It is a big issue and if there is a lack of snow removal on campus, it makes it difficult for some students to get around.”
Facilities Planning and Management Director Greg Swanson could not be reached for comment on how to deal with this issue.
City Manager Kevin Brunner said when the city receives a large amount of snowfall, the first priority for clearance is the “major streets.”
“The city clears Main, Starin, Milwaukee, Newcomb and Janesville streets first,” Brunner said.”
“Then the city moves to side streets and begins to clear sidewalks.”
Senior Kessa Mayne said she also experienced trouble getting around campus last year.
“I had trouble making it through sidewalk cut-outs in my four-wheel electric scooter,” Mayne said. “One day I missed all my classes, and missed classes other days because of it.”
Mayne said she thinks the problem could be solved by having heated sidewalks, but more realistically by having more people out shoveling and de-icing. Washington State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Syracuse University have heated sidewalks on their campuses.
Brunner said the city’s budget for snow removal this season is $149,000 and next year, the money allocated to snow removal is $132,000. He said the city employs eight to 12 employees for snow clearance.
“We have been fortunate so far to not have any snow accumulation this season,” Brunner said. “The city’s resources usually used for snow removal have been used in the Parks and Recreations department for other projects.”