Tue, Jan 28, 2014
As freezing nights return, no one is more grateful that ice didn’t make an encore appearance than the Facilities team, which performed a near-miracle converting our facilities from skating rinks to safe places to work after the Dec. 6 ice storm closed UNTHSC for three days.
In sub-freezing weather, eight crew members used all possible means to beat, scrape, chop or melt ice from walkways and parking lots.
“We used back-pack blowers, shovels, ice melt, tractors and really anything that was sturdy enough for us to break ice with,” said Seth Willmoth, Maintenance Manager. “From Sunday to Wednesday, our grounds crews worked close to 30 hours each on the ice.
Faulty equipment did not stop them. When their tractor broke down on Sunday and refused to move in reverse, Willmoth said the drivers had to do “a lot of circles in the parking lot.” More than once, he said, “we had to get the entire crew together to push it out of a corner.”
Treacherous commutes did not stop them. To ensure they were here Monday, Dec. 9, to help ready the campus for a Tuesday opening, Dean Conine, Grounds Foreman, spent Sunday night on campus, and Groundskeeper Tino Torres spent the night at his brothers’ nearby house.
Slippery footing did not stop them. “Every person in the group fell down at least once,” Willmoth said.
Working with Willmoth breaking ice were:
- Dean Conine, Grounds Foreman
- Jason Hartley, Executive Director, Facilities Management
- Brian Jordan, Construction Manager
- Ignacio Rodriguez, Groundskeeper
- Kevin Saunders, Senior Groundskeeper
- Jack Thetford, Construction Foreman
- Tino Torres, Groundskeeper
“Our biggest goal was to make sure people could get from one point to another safely,” Willmoth said.
Well done, team.