The Durango area generally has a favorable winter climate. Winter conditions can range from little to no accumulation of snow on the Fort Lewis Campus, to years with significant accumulation of snow, and ice remaining over a long period of time. The abundant sunshine with warm days and cool nights can create conditions where ice on otherwise clear sidewalks and parking lots presents a special hazard.
Physical Plant Services (PPS) has the primary responsibility for campus snow removal and has organized a Snow Management Team to coordinate activities. Within PPS, the Equipment Operators maintains the streets and parking lots; Grounds removes snow from the sidewalks; Custodial Services is responsible for the immediate entryways to General Fund facilities; and Structural Trades manages the snow load on roofing systems. Systematic snow removal efforts are coordinated through the Snow Management Manual, which is updated annually by the PPS Service Center.
In general, PPS snow removal operations start when the campus snow depth reaches three inches or when Campus Police have determined generally unsafe conditions. On weekends and holidays, snow removal operations usually start after 9:00 am. Due to limited staffing, PPS does not provide 24 hour service unless conditions are extreme. The goal of the snow management efforts is to have campus open and accessible by 7:30 am on weekdays.
When you walk around campus, please be aware of shifting snow and ice on roof overhangs. As the snow melts, it becomes slick and is prone to sliding off the roofs. Be aware of your surroundings. Snow on sidewalks and parking lots can melt and refreeze, turning into black ice.
When it snows continuously during a school day, PPS adjusts their priorities to attempt to keep up with the demands. During these times, a concentrated effort for snow removal will be given to the main intersecting walkways on the interior of campus (indicated with the red arrows above). Road priorities will be Rim Drive surrounding campus, the 8th Ave. extension which intersects campus and Fort Lewis Drive down to the roundabout and back.
Wear proper footwear, don’t put your hands in your pockets and take small steps.
Be willing to walk out of your way if necessary in order to find sidewalks which have been cleared. When conditions are poor, some walks might be shut down temporarily until weather conditions improve.
Be willing to drive out of your way. Fort Lewis College shuts down the front hill during inclement weather. We also assist the City of Durango on keeping Goeglein Gulch Road (College Drive) cleared and sanded. Often times access to campus is best via south Durango on the Goeglein side.
If you see a particularly dangerous situation, please call the PPS Service Center at extension 7000. They will inform the appropriate snow management team, so they can be addressed as quickly as priorities allow.
Park in commuter parking lots. Overnight parking is not allowed in those lots (indicated with a blue circled 'no' on the map to the right). They tend to be the first cleared of snow through the night. These are the lots which are in the cleanest condition when you arrive to work in the mornings.
If you commute to and from campus, do not park in the Residential parking lots. Due to the difficulty and unsafe conditions of plowing around parked cars, they are not cleared on a regular basis. For this reason, we have designated Parking Lot D (Football Field) as the lot where cars which are not used frequently are parked. Faculty and students who leave campus for overnight trips should be using Parking Lot D. Cars left in commuter lots are subject to being towed at the owner’s expense.