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Grounds and Events Employees Work to Make Campus Safe after Storm

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
March 24, 2010

Thomas Byron got the call Feb. 25 around 10:30 p.m. The storm was still raging, its near-hurricane force winds uprooting trees, snapping some of them in half like twigs. By morning, like thousands of businesses and residences around the state, UNH would be without power.

That Thursday night, Byron, manager for Grounds and Events, called in four of his employees to start tackling the damage on campus. The first priority was tending to trees that were still at risk of falling, suspended by power lines or nearby branches. Second was to clear the paths and walkways so students could get to the dining halls the next morning.

“The ravine was a tangled mess,” Byron says. “We tried to clear where we knew students would be going for breakfast so they could move around safely.”


At 6 a.m. Friday morning, Byron sat in front of an equipment rental store, waiting for them to open so he could rent a couple of chippers.

“We’ve been renting chippers for three weeks now,” he says.

The rest of Byron’s crew came in Friday morning. They used loaders and backhoes to move the debris. Fortunately, none of the university’s buildings were damaged.

“We took care of the main walkways. We weren’t cutting anything up for removal; we were just clearing the way,” Byron says.

Once that was done, the 24-man crew began hauling the trees to a local sawmill.
The place had so many logs coming in from around the area, they finally shut Byron off so he found a mill in Farmington that would take them.

A few days after the wind storm, it snowed.

“We had switched out the sanders from the vehicles and had to move them back to deal with the snow. As soon as we finished, we went right back to tree work,” Byron says.

Most of the debris has been cleaned up although there are still trees across the ravine. The lower quad has a large tree down.

“We’ll get to it,” Byron says. “Our main concern is safety—any trees that might still be hanging or leaning. It’s looking pretty good. We still have some trees to come down but we’ll get to them.”

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