Increased snowfall raises costs by 250 percent

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A pile of ice and snow along dorm row remains from one of the snowiest winters in recent memory.
Jaswanth Madhavan

Increased snowfall raises costs by 250 percent

MIT’s budget has taken a hit as a result of the heavy snow this winter: The Department of Facilities has already spent 2.5 times more money clearing snow this year than was spent on the task all last winter. The bulk of the increase comes from the cost of removing snow from campus parking areas to an off-campus site, according to Facilities Ground Services Manager Norman H. Magnuson Jr.

“The removal of the snow from the campus lots was necessary because the storms [so far this winter] were very close together with no melting periods in between,” wrote Magnuson in an e-mail.

Over the course of 10 snowstorms so far this year, 66 inches of snow have accumulated on campus, compared with 33 total inches last winter. During every major storm, the facilities department rolls out an elaborate operation involving dozens of staff and contracted snow clearers. About 30 MIT staff members run snow blowers, and nine staff members drive snow-clearing vehicles. Facilities also hires a contractor to clear lots, which brings in another dozen people to drive 12 additional pieces of snow-clearing equipment.

A snowstorm in early January took down three trees and many more tree limbs, which added another $8,000–9,000 worth of damage.

Facilities employees who clear the snow received a standard wage increase this year. Meanwhile, facilities has lowered the amount it pays for salt.

—Natasha Plotkin

1 Comment
Anonymous over 9 years ago

Flamethrowers would probably save some money.