Snow Plowing and Shoveling Guidelines

Facilities Services is responsible for snow removal operations on campus, including plowing, snow blowing, shoveling, and treatment of surfaces with salt and sand as needed.  Bates Grounds Services is primarily responsible for these operations, with Trades staff and Custodial Services staff playing important roles as well.  Annually, prior to snow removal season, the Grounds Maintenance Manager will schedule a meeting to review these procedures and related information with the grounds shop, trades shop managers, custodial supervisors and leads, and other key personnel.  The annual review of procedures will emphasize worker safety while performing snow removal work, and best practices along with assigned areas of responsibility.

Bates College is committed to prioritizing the clearing of primary and accessible entrances to buildings during the course of a storm.  During regular business hours, Custodial Services staff are responsible to keep building entrances clear a minimum of 10 feet out from the entrance, or to the point where a plow or other larger equipment can remove the snow.  They are also responsible for spreading salt or sand near building entrances as needed.  Trades staff are responsible to assist with snow shoveling on campus as coordinated by the Grounds Services Manager in consultation with the trades shop managers.

Snow removal begins with the accumulation of approximately 2 inches of snow on the ground.   Grounds Services has responsibility for operating plows, skid steers, tractors or other heavy equipment for snow removal operations, as well as shoveling on campus where needed.   Major arteries, heavy traffic areas, and fire lanes are the first to be plowed as preferred pathways, with secondary priority areas addressed next. There are sidewalks and pathways that are not essential to foot traffic that are not plowed or otherwise maintained during the winter.  When plowing and shoveling are complete, a mixture of sand and salt is applied as needed to increase traction and aid in the melting of any ice left behind by the plows.  An interactive diagram of the preferred campus pathways and routes is available in the map below.

Every storm is different and depending on whether it is a wet heavy snow or a dry powdery snow will determine how long it will take to clear the campus. Generally, it takes no less than three hours after the snow has stopped falling to complete the preferred walkway routes, after which sand and salt is applied to surfaces as needed. 

During particularly difficult snow days with heavy accumulation or an extended storm,  our teams focus on the most heavily used paths first, to make efficient use of our staffing, equipment, and resources.  In these storms Bates Grounds Services will gather information to make a storm-specific plan. 

Please use the work order request system, or email to report an area that needs attention. During regular business hours (7am to 3:30pm), customers may also call, or text, 207-786-6449 for time sensitive requests. Outside of regular business hours and on the weekends please contact Campus Safety, who will relay the information to Grounds Services staff members. If there’s a specific area that needs attention, please let us know.  New England weather patterns create challenging outdoor conditions, and the Bates facilities team strives to maintain reasonable access to all buildings. During particularly heavy or severe storms the campus may close, and there will be more limited access to classroom buildings during these closures. Grounds and Trades staff are considered essential personnel for snow removal during campus closure, and will perform snow removal operations on campus, prioritizing preferred pathways and access to core buildings, including Dining Commons, Ladd library, and residential buildings. 

Any Bates owned rental properties where the college has responsibility for snow removal are prioritized and addressed after the main campus and student housing locations have been cleared, and/or may be cleared by a contractor as coordinated by the Grounds Shop manager.  

The entire campus community is reminded to use extra care when transiting campus during or after a snow storm, or when winter temperatures fluctuate between freeze and thaw cycles.  Please be aware of plows and trucks moving around you, and help our drivers by being visible to equipment operators, avoiding quick movements in front of or behind equipment, and not reading or texting while transiting campus.   Remember that icy surfaces may appear unexpectedly. Whenever possible, use preferred pathways (indicated on the below map) Snow/Ice cleats improve traction and can be requested through Environmental Health and Safety  and are also available for purchase at the college store. Students with mobility related concerns about navigating campus during inclement weather are encouraged to meet with staff in the Office of Accessible Education and Student Support.  Information about support services, including transportation via the Accessible Shuttle, can be found here: