Mower makes maintenance director if not schoolkids happy
Snow removal is a serious concern in the Midwest, but it takes on added urgency in the region’s schools, where safe access to facilities can mean the difference between days spent learning and days lost to weather. Jerry Loewe, school district maintenance supervisor for Wisner, Neb., is charged with making sure the town’s schools are safe after a snowstorm.
Loewe’s maintenance crew uses a 25-horsepower rotary mower with a broom attachment to clear snow from the sidewalks, parking lots, building entrances and playgrounds at the town’s schools. “When it snows, we’ll start about 6 a.m.,” he says. “By the time the students get there, we’ve finished the grounds, including clearing the parking lot right down to the lines, so they can see where to park.”
The mower and its attachment, manufactured by Moundridge, Kan.-based Grasshopper, are not stored after winter. Besides serving as the district’s regular mower, the machine also is used several times each year to keep fields near the schools clear of rocks and other obstructions. In the fall, it is tapped for leaf-vacuuming duty.
In fact, the broom proved vital in 1996 when late winter rains had soaked Wisner, causing the Elkhorn River to flood a popular community baseball field. When the waters receded, the infield was choked with silt. Loewe and his crew used the mower to sweep the silt out of the turf into piles where it was removed with shovels. The field was restored and open for business at the start of the season.