Winter conditions complicate snow clearing for Helena Public Sch - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Winter conditions complicate snow clearing for Helena Public Schools

Posted: Feb 05, 2018 8:16 PM Updated:

There are more than 17 schools in the Helena community and Superintendent Jack Copps said that adds up to thousands of square feet of sidewalk to cover.

"When you total up the square footage of the sidewalks we have, there are over 800,000 square feet of sidewalks," he said. "We have a grounds crew of nine people in the district. That's what our budget is."

According to Copps, rapidly changing conditions such as rain or snow that melts or freezes complicates clearing the paths.

Ground crews have enlisted the help of custodians to try and keep up but that means workers sand and clear snow for 16 hour days at times and occasionally overnight.

"We're doing the best we can. However, I fully understand this difficult kind of navigating and if you don't have good shoes and you tend to slide around, so it is a problem out there and we know that," Copps said.

Copps added that Helena Public Schools has hired contractors to assist with the snowfall around the school area and thinks they might have to again.

"We really haven't had many reports in terms of injuries around the schools but we have heard some injuries because people have fallen and that sort of thing," Copps said.

Copps said even principals have picked up a shovel and spread ice melt to combat the slippery sidewalks and lots.

"But still in all of this, we have employees, we have some parents, who come to school and wish that our entrances would be a little more accessible, a little easier to access, than sliding around on ice and we apologize for that," Copps said.

Copps added that the district appreciates the public's patience.

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