Snow Removal Procedures

Alma College Facilities and Service Management is responsible for snow and ice removal on campus. Our goal is to provide as safe conditions as can be expected in Michigan winter. We strive to have campus parking and walks cleared by 7:30 a.m. on school days.

Facilities staff

  • There are over 20 staff members directly involved with winter storm events. This includes administrators, communications, equipment operators and the shoveling team.
  • The Facilities Director and Associate Director are responsible for the overall operation and communication to executive staff and campus.
  • Each building has an assigned person to shovel and salt main entries.
  • Local contractors are called in as needed for trucking snow from site.  

Call in procedure

  • Facilities watches the weather closely and typically a plan will be in place before the storm hits.
  • Security notifies Facilities during off-hours when snow accumulates to two inches or more or if ice begins to build on surfaces.

The following is an outline guide to the approach used in several storm event scenarios. Because each storm is unique, these are only guidelines and many decisions are made during a storm event in order to provide the most effective use of our resources.

Light snow fall

Facilities grounds department staff arrive at 6 a.m. for normal working hours. In the case of a light snow, parking lots and walks can be cleared before classes without coming in early.

Continuous light snow

When snow continues all day at a rate of ½” inch per hour or less, snow removal is done in continuous rounds. Usually snow blowers and rotary brooms are best used followed by a light salting for traction. Since this light salting will get brushed aside with the next round, care is taken not to over-salt.

Heavy snow event

Crew starts early (3 a.m. or as needed).

  • First order, begin on main commuter parking lots and drives.
  • Call in contracted trucking if necessary.
  • Begin clearing sidewalks and entries.
  • Have parking and walks cleared for faculty, staff and commuters by 7:30 a.m.
  • Continue maintaining throughout the day.
  • Repeat the following day as needed.

Ice storm forecast

If an ice storm is forecast and happens to be preceded by a couple of inches of snow we will leave the snow on the surfaces. The snow allows a barrier between the ice and the cold concrete surface making removal much easier.

Salt is applied throughout the ice event as long as temperatures are above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt is ineffective for melting purposes below 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

If temperatures are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, sand light salting will be broadcast in critical areas such as steps and ramps to help with traction.

Once the ice event is over, temperature dictates our next approach. 

Additional information:

Student housing and Greek housing are responsible for clearing their entries and the sidewalk leading to their entry.

Please maintain plenty of distance between you and the active snow removal equipment as visibility is limited.

We caution everyone to be extremely careful during winter conditions.