Lessons from snow removal crew

With temperatures predicted to approach 80 degrees as soon as next week, winter appears to be wrapping up. With that in mind, Minnesota State’s Grounds Supervisor Bruce Leivermann is reflecting on this year’s snow removal.

The biggest thing students and faculty can do to improve this process is obey parking rules, especially overnight parking.

“We have a lot of people who park illegally at night, which then turns our work into more work because, if the cars are in the lots when they’re not supposed to be, now we have to go around them to not hit them. If the lots are empty after school, it’s a lot simpler for us to plow, we get more done quicker. One or two cars can mess up the whole parking lot,” Leivermann said, adding that one or two cars in an otherwise empty parking lot can add an extra hour of labor.

They won’t tow vehicles to clear the way for snow plows, but they will ticket them. 

“It’s very, very dangerous for us,” Leivermann said of cars left in place when plows arrive.

This winter had more rain than years past, which posed challenges for the Leivermann’s snow removal team. The rain freezes on the ground while snow piles on top, which creates a dangerous lack of traction.

“There really is no typical day,” for snow removal with the ever-changing weather, according to Leivermann. 

The typical schedule includes day and on-call night shifts from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., then 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. from November to April. 

“Basically, when there’s a half inch of snow on the ground, you start.” 

Leivermann said this winter required more time for hauling snow, which took about two to three days compared to years past where they would plow snow one day and haul it away the next. 

Equipment consists of two front loaders, which are the large wheel loaders that are found in the parking lots. They also have Bobcats for lots and sidewalks, and lawn mowers and shovels for smaller and more detailed areas. The snow is discarded in parking stalls to protect grass from salt. 

“We don’t have a lot of stalls available on campus,” Leivermann said. “They get mad at us because parking stalls are used up. So that’s why we have to get out there quickly to get the snow out of the parking stalls, so people can park in the stalls. So that’s probably the biggest complaint we get.”

The snow removal team is made up of 60% students, and Leivermann said that this is beneficial because “they know the campus.”

There is currently no snow to be expected for the next 10 days, and every day has a chance of rain ranging from 4-53%, according to the Weather Channel.

Header photo: With the amount of snow Minnesota has received over the course of the winter, the MSU Grounds crew has been working to clear the lots. To make their job easier, obey the parking rules, especially overnight.  (Carly Bahr/The Reporter)

Write to Carly Bahr at

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