GVSU staff working 24/7 to clear snow, maintain buildings
Grand Valley State University staff members have been working around the clock to remove snow and keep buildings warm after heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures led to the closing of campuses for five consecutive days.
The Grand Valley Police Department, Campus Dining, Housing and Residence Life, Facilities Services, Campus Recreation, and Transportation Services, are just some of the departments that remained open during the week as most students stayed on campus.
Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president for Facilities Services, said most of his 120-member staff made it to work each day, ready to do their jobs in wind chills that reached 22 degrees below zero.
"The weather this past week caused the most challenging conditions I've experienced in my 24 years here at Grand Valley; it's been all hands on deck," said Thimmesch. "Our crews have been plowing and shoveling snow, checking pipes and vents, clearing gas meters and walking each building 24/7 to make sure everything is working properly."
Thimmesch said some frozen pipes and water lines were repaired and university boilers ran at maximum all week to keep buildings warm and at a constant temperature.
Members from Facilities Services and GVPD helped students dig out February 1, shoveling more than two-to-three feet of snow off their vehicles.
Andy Beachnau, associate vice provost for Student Affairs and director of Housing and Health Services, said 30 staff members and 115 resident assistants helped students pass the time this week with movie night, craft night, karaoke night, zumba, yoga and even igloo building.
"Students have been making the most of this time – getting to know one another," said Beachnau. "One staff member said it's been enriching to see students developing community and having fun."