Campus workers battle ‘Chiberia’ deep freeze


Pedestrians brave the snow and cold on campus Tuesday as a snowplow clears the way. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Facilities Management employees are working around-the-clock to tackle snow and ice removal on campus after snow and sub-zero temperatures.

About 40 employees are working 12-hour shifts at least through the week to remove snow and keep sidewalks clear, said Mark Donovan, vice chancellor for administrative services.

“We’ve ramped up and are ready to roll,” Donovan said. “We’ve been hauling snow out of parking lots and have some extra guys out there shoveling.”

Campus resumed normal operations Tuesday after employees were directed to stay home Monday, unless their function was critical, because of the record-breaking frigid temperatures.

Facilities Management employees worked through the cold Monday, Donovan said, but took extra precautions to be safe in the extreme weather.

Employees worked 30-minute shifts outdoors and kept warmed cars nearby or took breaks in campus buildings to prevent frostbite, he said.

Despite the extreme cold, there were no major problems in any campus buildings, Donovan said. Dampers were closed to keep the cold from getting inside.

Divvy bike station

A snowbound Divvy Bike station on Harrison Street. The company suspended rentals during the freeze. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

Crews focused on clearing sidewalks on the west side of campus, especially hospital entrances and emergency docks for ambulances. They are identifying routes on the east side to be cleared before students return to campus Monday.

Report any snow or ice-related problems on campus to the 24/7 UIC snow removal hotline, 312-355-7669 (312-355-SNOW). Provide information on the location and time of the problem, as well as your phone number or e-mail address for follow-up.

“Call the snow hotline and we will get to it as quickly as possible, and please exercise caution because it’s slippery,” Donovan said.

“And smile through it. It’s something you get to tell your grandchildren, about how you got through the great arctic blast of 2014.”

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