Slick slopes are scary to some students

Trevor Leard, Staff Writer

This winter, Pitt-Johnstown’s weather has changed as fast as the days have. One day campus will be covered in snow with students sliding everywhere, and the next, students will be in shorts.

The snow removal on campus may be a major complaint for students due to a constant danger of falling on the slippery ground below.

Another major concern for some students may not be the removal of the snow, but the constant ice that stays after the snow has fallen.

Ice has formed outside some  campus buildings from the snow melting and dripping down to the ground.

“Every time I walk outside after it snows, I have to remember to either look down, or slow down because there is a constant strip of ice outside my door,” said Pitt-Johnstown senior Tyler Ripko.

Physical Plant employee John Baumgardner said the problem isn’t lack of work, but the lack of manpower available to cover over six miles of campus walkway.

“Sometimes we only have two of the nine guys who work here in clearing the walkways. We have all the right equipment just not the number of people,” Baumgardner said. “They hired nine guys when they opened this in 1969 and there are still only nine today.”

“They keep opening more buildings but they have not added any more workers to keep up,” Baumgardner said

They have also added three new Ford pick-up trucks with plows to add to the job of snow removal on campus parking lots and roadways.

The ice on the ground is not the only threat that students face, there are also icicles that hang which can put fear in some students walking and standing outside.

“I like to breathe some fresh air sometimes when I go over to my friend’s house on the weekend, but standing below the icicles seems really dangerous,” Pitt-Johnstown freshman Drew Dearden said.

According to Baumgardner, it is not the physical plant employees’ responsibility since it is technically attached to the house. “We will remove the icicles that fall to the ground but we aren’t responsible for the removal nor do we have the time to remove them,” he said.

This also causes some students to take matters into their own hands, according to Dearden, who said he was yelled at by campus police for knocking icicles down.

“I don’t want to get hit by them and the police said they put in a maintenance request to get rid of them, but they keeping coming back and nothing is ever done,” Dearden said.

Another problem is the University Square’s snow removal, where students walk across frequently.

The square is laid with a brick side walk, where plows are not allowed to ride over, so they are not torn up.

“We would salt the walkways by hand if we had to but we’ve been told not to touch anything in the square,” Baumgardner said.

Pitt-Johnstown junior Ryan Vaughan travels the Square daily.

“I don’t understand why they build walkways that help us get to class faster but then do not clear them for us to use safely,” he said.

Accessibility is not the only thing that concerns students. Safety is a major concern Ripko says.

“I see people falling who are walking through there all the time. It’s funny, but I bet it doesn’t feel good at all.”