Snow/Ice Removal and Management Procedures
The Montana Western Facility Services team is committed to putting forth our best efforts in regard to snow and ice removal and management. Facility Services does not have unlimited resources and cannot ensure that the campus will be 100% free of snow and ice at all times. Despite best efforts, surfaces may be slippery. Please tread carefully and report any areas that are particularly hazardous or need more attention by calling 406-683-7142.
Facility Services does monitor weather conditions and forecasts, and has employees available on an on-call basis to deploy as needed. During non-business hours, once snow has accumulated roughly 2 inches in depth, the grounds crew begins to remove snow with a typical start time of 6:00 a.m. This generally includes two grounds crew employees and the on-shift heating plant operator. MYCA cadets will assist, when available, from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Montana Western has three pieces of motorized snow removal equipment (tractors); two Ventrac tractors with 5 foot blades and/or revolving brooms, and one Kubota utility vehicle with a 6 foot blade. This equipment is used to remove snow on sidewalks/roadways/parking lots with a priority given to clearing high traffic pedestrian walkways and accessibility routes.
Surface snow is removed via blading or revolving broom. Ramps and stairs are cleared with blowers and shovels.
- There are two campus maps highlighting priorities for snow removal. One map for building entrances, and a second map for sidewalks. It is the goal of Facility Services to have shoveled/plowed all priority one areas by 9:00 a.m. All priority two areas will be addressed by 12:00 p.m. The ability to meet this goal is based on available resources and current weather conditions (i.e. continuous snowfall).
- With adequate resources, priority one areas for sidewalks and building entrances are cleared concurrently. If this is not possible, sidewalks take priority.
- The custodial staff is generally responsible for clearing building entrances 10 feet out from their assigned buildings. During the academic year, a combination of Facility Services personnel and MYCA cadets assist in morning snow removal of priority 1 entrances in advance of custodians reporting for their regular shifts.
- Parking lots are the lowest priority and many times go unattended. Residence parking lots are generally full at all times and plowing would result in trapping vehicles in the parking stall. Commuter lots and reserved areas, such as Main Hall and the BARC, generally start filling up by 7:00 a.m. Facility Services resources are often fully consumed with other priorities and unable to address these areas. When available, third party contractors will be utilized to plow these lots before 7:00 a.m. After addressing all of the sidewalk and building entrances, overtime will be authorized to plow the parking lots during non-business hours. This could take place the next day or several days after snowfall.
Ice melt mixed with sand is spread as needed on sidewalks and building entrances. To be effective the surfaces need to be clear of any snow accumulation. Application of this mixture is done throughout the day as needed. Facility Services staff is very limited and we cannot provide continuous “ice patrol” throughout the day. For that reason, five gallon buckets of this mixture are located inside building entrance doors. The campus population is encouraged to spread ice melt when needed to assist in ice management efforts. If more ice melt or buckets are needed, please contact Facility Services by calling 406-683-7142.
There may be a need for Facility Services to close a particular walkway or entrance, temporarily, or for an extended period of time, due to hazardous conditions. This decision can be prompted by facility design constraints that prevent sufficient snow and ice management, or by limited resources. This practice is consistent with other institutions in the Montana University System which routinely shut down specific travel routes for the winter. If an extended shut down of an area is needed, the Safety and Security Committee will be informed and a campus wide communication will be sent with more information.
All campus employees are asked to be mindful of our snowplows as they work the interior walks and drives. Operators in these machines cannot always hear or see pedestrian traffic. The operator’s attention is primarily focused on blade operation and ground level obstructions with limited visibility. Please be careful when snow removal equipment is in use and maintain space between yourself and the equipment at all times.
If you have any questions or concerns about this snow/ice removal procedure, please contact the Director of Facility Services at 406-683-7145.