Grad takes good care of his alma mater’s grounds

Principal praises company’s work


Grace Kowalevsky

Interstate 465 may be a mess, and 56th Street no doubt is covered in ice, but odds are good the Hill will be pristine by the time students arrive. Turf Dogs and EMS employees who take care of the pavement, sidewalks and buildings tell their stories.

Nick Bozzelli-Levine, Reporter

During these cold winter months, students ride mindlessly up the Hill, catching up on sleep or simply dazed in a tired morning trance. What some students may not know, however, is how much work has to be done by people like Turf Dogs president Mr. Andrew Christiansen ’99 to make sure they get up the Hill and spend their day on campus safely. 

Whenever there’s a massive winter event such as a snowstorm or large amounts of ice, there are two companies here that are dedicated to making the Hill and the entire campus safe. They are Turf Dogs and EMS. 

Graduate started business in high school

Turf Dogs was started by Christiansen and he seems to have been dedicated to exterior management for quite a while. “I’ve been in the business a long time,” Christiansen said. “I started when I was in high school, working summers and weekends. And when I graduated college (from Ball State in prelaw and business) I ended up getting back in the business. I grew it from one employee to forty.”

However, Christiansen and Turf Dogs are not the only people working toward the safety at this school.

There is another company making sure that when winter shows it’s gruesome face, students and faculty can get to school easily. That company is Executive Management Services, or EMS. Director of facilities Mr. Carl Grill explained some of the intricate processes that occur to make sure everything runs smoothly. “Generally, there’s a text or (an) email sent out the night before the bad weather event.” Grill said. “It basically gets us on the same page. A lot of times we’re in here 4 to 5 o’clock in the morning just to make sure that things are kind of up to par.” 

Christiansen and Grill always need to be prepared for the worst case scenario to keep this school in shape. “We had an ice storm probably five years ago.” Christiansen said. “The entire campus had an inch and a half of ice. We had to bring in large heavy equipment to bust up all the ice, and Cathedral was the only school in the city that was clear and open.” 

Another key component in this elaborate operation is Principal Mr. Dave Worland, the person who alerts all of the students and staff about delays and cancellations.

“First of all, I think it’s very important that prior to the actual decision, I need to look real closely at the forecasts,” Worland said. “(I need to look at) what the meteorologists are saying, what they’re suggesting, because if something’s potentially going to be poor weather, I want to start researching that.” Worland said that he has to make a decision upon what action to take in a severe winter weather situation by 5:15 a.m. He said he had to stay up late and get up extra early occasionally to check the forecasts and make sure he knows the drive to school would be safe.

Worland also elaborated on the rationale for contracting with  Turf Dogs and EMS. “The reason we came up with EMS was because we hired them years ago to be our maintenance and facilities custodians,” Worland said. “Because that’s our preferred vendor, they automatically take care of snow removal, ice removal (and) laying salt down.” 

Principal praises company’s work

Worland also had some good things to say about Turf Dogs. “Turf Dogs, they are a good company. They’re  owned by a Cathedral graduate who cares a lot about his school,” Worland said. “So not only do we get fair bids on the pricing but we have somebody who knows Cathedral and cares a lot about Cathedral.”

Worland really seemed to appreciate the work these people do.

One common theme among Christiansen and Grill is their appreciation of appreciation. “Some of the most rewarding things is that what we do, to us, is a very simple task,” Grill said. “But to a lot of the people in the school, they might not know how simple that is, and they’ve been dealing with it for a long time (and) when you fix it for them they are completely over the top and overjoyed.” 

Grill apparently enjoys the impact he makes on this school. “As long as the school is happy, then we’ve made an impact,” he said. 

In the hustle and bustle of tests, homework and the everyday clamor of school life, it can be hard to notice the little things. When bundled up students cross from Kelly Hall to Loretto on a freezing morning, they may not notice that the walkway was scraped and salted so they don’t slip. When they ride up the Hill, they may not know that there was a small army of people there at 5 in the morning, making sure it’s safe for drivers. 

When the dream of a snow day finally comes true, they may not know that Worland had to stay up until 11 p.m analyzing the forecasts. All of these people are here to take one more worry off the students’ minds. 

“We take our job very seriously. We’re responsible for the safety of the students, faculty and staff,” Christiansen said. “Our job is while you’re sleeping is to be here getting the campus safe and you guys can come to school every morning.”