Late last Wednesday night, the sound of a large tree snapping and falling to the ground startled many New Apartment residents. This incident was just one of the many problems caused by the heavy rain and thunderstorms that plagued Kenyon last week.
One of the biggest issues the Maintenance Department faces due to storms and other severe weather is water runoff ﾗ when the soil is fully saturated with water, water pools above the ground. While Maintenance actively tries to alleviate this problem, there are some cases that cannot be helped.
“Water lays, it’s the nature of the beast,” Greg Widener, director of facility operations, said.
Thus, Maintenance mostly relies on geography to deal with excess water. Since Kenyon is on a hill, normally water will eventually make its way to the Kokosing River. Drains placed at strategic points around campus also help. Maintenance workers keep them unclogged and functional, and drainage and runoff repairs come out of the Maintenance Department’s yearly budget.
Falling trees ﾗ like the one at the New Apartments ﾗ create a more pressing problem. The Maintenance Department operates off of a budget of around $17,000 yearly to take care of existing trees and plant new ones, but in many cases, trees fall without warning.
“With the number of trees we have on campus, it’s a little bit above our ability to go in and inspect every tree, every year,” Grounds Manager Steve Vaden said.
The Maintenance Department also deals with water getting into places it should not. Recently, they installed a new drainage system around the Church of the Holy Spirit to keep water from seeping into the basement. They also use dehumidifiers to help address the problem.
The coming winter season has the Maintenance Department preparing for inevitable repairs.
“We aren’t going to fix everything all at once, but we are consciously trying to amend where we can and make fixes that make sense,” Widener said.
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