Salting not delayed

By Michelle Esposito

Despite recent cutbacks in the budget, NIU officials said there was no delay in salting the sidewalks last week.

Last Thursday saw gusting winds and sleet which froze on the sidewalks, making it difficult for students and faculty to get around campus.

Tom Anderson, gounds department superintendent, said there was no delay in salting the sidewalks or other campus areas. “We can’t be in every place at one time,” he said.

Some areas get first priority when it comes to clearing the sidewalks. “We start the handicapped areas first,” Anderson said.

The 28 miles of sidewalks are covered in four to five hours, he added.

There were no injuries reported to the University Health Center, said Helen Traglia, head of the health center’s after-hours care department.

With recent budget cuts, the grounds department can’t afford to pay their employees overtime, Anderson said. Unless there’s a serious storm, grounds employees do not work overtime, said Physical Plant director John Gardner. Grounds employees were working Friday and Saturday during the weekend’s snowstorm.

A regular day for a grounds employee begins at 7 a.m. and ends at about 3:30 p.m., Anderson said. Last Thursday, at about 5:30 a.m., Anderson said the University Police notified him of the conditions of the streets and sidewalks so his crew could begin salting.

The grounds employees began salting at around 7:30 a.m., when most students and faculty are on their way to class, he said.

NIU is responsible for salting and clearing its own sidewalks. “The city of DeKalb doesn’t salt our sidewalks,” Anderson said.