Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo is truly a city-within-a-city. And when it snows, campus has to be cleared and remain open. The WMU Facilities Management crew has a massive 100 page Snow Book that details that plan.

20 Miles of Road, 39 Miles of Sidewalk

There is an incredible amount of roadway and sidewalks on WMU's campus. At 80 miles of paved surfaces, that amounts to clearing a path roughly equivalent of driving from Kalamazoo to Fort Wayne, Indiana. How do they decide what to clear first?

There is a structured priority to what area get snow removal first. The first roads to get treated are the Ring Roads that circle campus. They're considered the main arteries for getting traffic moving on to, off of and around campus. All interior roads are prioritized after the ring roads.

120 Acres of Parking Lots

Similar to the roadway priority system, some parking lots are prioritized more than others. According to the Snow Book, here's the priority level for all WMU lots.

A. Faculty-staff parking lots.
B. Primary visitor lots.
C. Dining service loading docks and courts.
D. Student commuter lots.
E. Campus apartments and residence hall lots.

It may seem counteractive that on-campus housing and residence halls would be dead last, Facilities Management explains that many cars sit long-term in parking spots making clearing around them more difficult. Keeping the isle-ways open in the dorm lots is the main goal of snow removal in dorm and apartment lots.

WMU No Snow Day Video

Snow removal is so efficient on campus that the university endeavors not to have to call a snow day. WMU president Dunn starts in this humorous video showcasing clearing snow on campus.

[WMU Facilities Management]