Classes cancelled due to snowstorm

Rok Loftfield
Staff Writer

You know those annoying 8 a.m. classes? How would you feel about being here at 4 a.m. instead? Steve Cowan has to be here at that time every morning. He was here even earlier last Wednesday  at 2 a.m. just to see how snow-covered the campus was.

Cowan, Director of the Physical Plant for Hudson Valley gets here so early to decide whether the campus opens for classes when it’s snowing.

Cowan bases his decision on a number of factors. First, he looks at the weather. If it is snowing, he calls local highway departments to see if the county roads are cleared. Next, Cowan calls the local and state police departments to see if the roads are safe to travel on. Finally, he makes his decision to cancel classes (or not) before 5 a.m.

By 5:30 a.m. Cowan is on the phone with the President to tell him his decision. If the President concurs with Cowan then he starts calling local radio and television stations. Each of the 16 stations has a code that needs to be passed before the station starts airing the message to the public. The only people that know this code are Cowan, the President and the respective stations.

Cowan has been at Hudson Valley for 14 years and has not encountered any major problems with this system. Sometimes a radio station until after 8 a.m. and sometimes Cowan won’t be able to contact a station.

The conditions on Tuesday, Jan. 25 were so bad that Cowan and the President decided to cancel all classes after 11 a.m. The next day, Wednesday, Jan. 26, morning classes were also cancelled.

Cowan’s responsibilities as Director of the Physical Plantare not limited to cancelling classes. He is also responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the campus buildings, landscaping and infrastructure such as roads, heating/air conditioning and power.The custodial department also reports to Cowan.

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