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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

K-State canceled classes Tuesday, Jan. 16, marking third campus closure in two weeks

Division of Facilities worked overnight to ensure students would be safe on campus
Carter Schaffer
Kansas State canceled classes Tuesday after six 6-8 inches of snow fell. K-State Facilities worked to clear off the streets and sidewalks.

Kansas State closed its Manhattan campus and canceled classes Tuesday after the National Weather Service issued a chill warning for Riley County. 

Timothy Brunner, director III for physical infrastructure, said the decision to cancel class is a collaborative effort.

“I report to our Vice President [for Facilities] Casey Lauer and he reports up the chain,” Brunner said. “He calls me [and says], ‘Hey, can we make it? Are we safe?’ and I just tell him, ‘There’s too much. I can’t get it all out by 8 o’clock [a.m.].’ … Then the cabinet meets, and they make the decision.” 

Brunner said the recent snowstorm posed new challenges for facilities. 

“Now that we’re doing parking lots it takes a lot more equipment, so this time was kind of a learning curve,” Brunner said. “We got that six or eight inches of snow there last week that was really wet. It caught us off guard because … it snowed for 12 hours, and then overnight it really, really came down and really stuck.”

Jana Bray, sophomore in bakery science, said while canceling classes was the right call, the snow day wasn’t relaxing.

“One of my labs got canceled which was nice, but now the whole schedule has been thrown off,” Bray said. “I’m taking the most credit hours that I’ve ever taken before … and I’m going to be gone for a week in February for a conference. I just really need everything to go smoothly.”

Jasper Vallad, freshman in music education, said he was glad to have classes canceled Tuesday because the snow impacts his commute. 

“I am always someone who rides my bike to class,” Vallad said. “It’s like a daily thing for me. I’m definitely not doing that in this weather. … I’m spending most of my time in McCain, so it’s a little bit of a trek from Goodnow. [I’m] leaving a little earlier.”

Assistant Vice President for Physical Infrastructure and Facilities Chris Salmon said safety is the main concern of K-State when considering a snow day.

“I’m trying to look at what’s on the ground,” Salmon said. “Can we get through the streets safely? Can we manage parking lots? … Then it’s just a judgment call.” 

Salmon said facilities takes precautions to ensure campus is safe for students during inclement weather.

“You’ve got to have the right materials in place,” Salmon said. “Plenty of salt sand, [we] make sure trucks are operational for plowing the streets. Certainly, it’s a team effort. Really, everybody has a hand to play in it.”

Salmon said snow preparation often takes place late at night.

“Our crews come in very early, so it’s not like this stuff is happening at 8 o’clock,” Salmon said. “The first class happens at 8:05. We had crews within the last week actually pull overnight shifts and work upwards of 15 to 20 hours straight just to ensure we can clear as much as we can.”

Brunner said he is in charge of some overnight crews, and their work is “important for community safety and campus safety as a whole.”

“I think we employ 3,500 people on Kansas State, and we need to have a good, clean, safe place for everybody to come to work and do their jobs so we can, in fact, grow young adults,” Brunner said. “It’s a holistic view. We’ve got a small city that we take care of, and it’s important to have that city put together as much as we can.” 

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About the Contributors
Meredith McCalmon, news editor
News editor for 2023-24. Previously writer for 2022-23.
Kaitlynn Faber, arts & culture editor
A&C editor for spring 2024. Previously asst. A&C editor for fall 2023 and writer for 2022-23.
Carter Schaffer, editor-in-chief
EIC for 2023-24. Previously EIC for 2022-23 and writer and photographer for spring 2022.
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