As falling temperatures, rain and snow hit midcoast Maine this week—knocking out parts of campus power on Wednesday—Facilities staff got to work extra early to clear ice from the College’s streets and paths.
Over the course of Wednesday afternoon and evening, Brunswick received about seven inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. As many students were likely just headed to bed, facilities staff began working at around 2:30 a.m. yesterday morning, according to Senior Associate Director for Facilities Operations and Maintenance Jeff Tuttle.
Wednesday’s storm also knocked out power on the south part of campus for several hours, including Coles Tower, the Visual Arts Center and Hawthorne-Longfellow (H-L) Library. Several students were stuck in elevators in Coles Tower, Stowe Hall and H-L. A total of 2,600 homes in Brunswick and Harpswell were affected, the Portland Press-Herald reported.
The Dean of Academic Affairs did not formally cancel classes, although some professors chose not to hold their classes, either due the lack of power or treacherous driving conditions. Safe Ride, the campus shuttle service, stopped running at 4 p.m. due to road conditions.
Facilities also dealt with icy conditions earlier in the week. On Monday, the temperature dropped quickly amid rainy conditions, resulting in icy paths across campus. Tuttle said he received a number of complaints from students about the ice.
Sydney Avitia-Jacques ’18 was one of the students who wrote to Facilities after noticing ice building up around campus, particularly between Moulton Union and Moore Hall and outside of the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness.
“I know Facilities has a lot to do and does a lot, but I thought it was something that if they heard more from students how it was affecting people … it seems like a pretty easy fix,” she said.
Tuttle said he personally checked out the spots students were concerned about and Facilities addressed these issues Tuesday morning. Although keeping campus clear is a priority for Facilities, he noted that the department has a limited number of employees and cannot de-ice all of campus at once. On days like Monday, when ice builds up very quickly, he advises students to be careful and wear good shoes.
“We have a lot to do and limited resources. We do welcome [feedback], if there’s an issue, if somebody feels like it’s treacherous, they can contact me directly or call Security—they’ll get a hold of us,” he said.