Facilities Management, others honored for ‘snow week’ work

Photo by Nicole Ely/The News
Photo by Nicole Ely/The News

Nicole Ely/The News A Facilities Management snow plow removes snow in front of Hester Residential College last week.

While students spent the unexpected “snow week” sleeping, sledding and studying, it was up to Facilities Management to keep campus as safe as possible.

President Bob Davies held a special luncheon Thursday afternoon to thank all the faculty and staff that did their part to handle the historic winter weather conditions.

“This is truly just a thank you for supporting Murray State,” Davies said. “We had staff out at 4 o’clock, 5 o’clock in the morning shoveling sidewalks, getting parking lots clear.”

Benny Gibson, supervisor and grounds foreman, said he and other groundskeepers worked tirelessly during the week.

“We came in Sunday at 10 p.m., and we didn’t leave until Tuesday at 5:30,” Gibson said. “It was a battle.”

The groundskeepers estimated that they went through 17 pallets of ice melt, each containing 40-50 bags to a pallet. Roughly 800 bags of ice melt were dispersed throughout campus.

Facilities Management personnel adjusted employees’ schedules to ensure workers were safe. David Burdette, interim chief officer of Facilities Management, said it took a team effort to fight the ice and snow.

“We platooned people: who’s coming in first, who’s coming in second making sure people are getting inside and getting warmed up when they needed to,” Burdette said.

Groundskeepers Phil Dashney, Ronnie Hill and Chuck Plummer said keeping the areas around the dorms clear was a top priority. They relied on campus services while they worked.

“We took naps in Richmond and ate in Winslow,” Hill said. “The dining hall took good care of us.”

Many departments played a role in keeping the grounds safe. Burdette said Facilities Management, Building Services and Grounds, Dining Services, the custodial workforce and Public Safety and Emergency Management all did their part to support Murray State during the weather.

“I was really proud of how the folks reacted, how they responded. Everybody stood tall,” Burdette said. “I’m all about the team, they did great.”

Story by Lucy Easley, Staff writer