Toolcat machines get high marks at the University of North Dakota
Versatile Toolcat 5600 utility work machines play an important role in year-round grounds maintenance assignments at the University of North Dakota
Ed Koble (left) and Byron Anderson find ways to keep the University of North Dakota’s Toolcat utility work machines and attachments busy year-round.
There has been much advancement in equipment in the 20-plus years that Ed Koble has worked for the grounds maintenance department at the University of North Dakota (UND), but none that has made such a difference as Toolcat™ 5600 utility work machines.
Koble is the grounds superintendent at UND in Grand Forks, N.D. The first university founded in North Dakota is still the largest and has an enrollment of 14,000 students. Koble is responsible for 650 acres, including buildings, and sidewalks and parking lots that must be free of snow and ice. Seventeen full-time employees work for Koble in grounds maintenance and landscaping, and among his equipment fleet are two Toolcat 5600 machines.
An early start
While most students are sleeping, Koble and his employees get an early start when it snows. “We start clearing snow at 2 a.m. and need to have the inner campus done by 7 a.m.,” Koble says. “We have 27 miles of sidewalks and 130 acres of parking lots. Normally we get about 39 inches of snow in Grand Forks and, although last winter (2011–2012) we had just 20 inches, we have been averaging about 60 inches for the past 15 years. A few years ago we had 79 inches.”
In addition to the two Toolcat machines, Koble’s department also owns four Bobcat® skid-steer loaders — two smaller ones for clearing sidewalks and two larger loaders that his employees operate with a snowblower attachment to clear parking lots. All of his Bobcat equipment is utilized to its maximum potential. “The Toolcat machines are used every day, 12 months of the year,” Koble says. “We have Bobcat angle brooms, blades and snowblowers for them, and they get a lot of hours.”
“Versatile piece of equipment”
Byron Anderson is a 30-plus year veteran and longtime equipment operator at UND. “The Toolcat machines are the most versatile and agile pieces of equipment for our application,” Anderson says. “I prefer to operate it in all-wheel steer mode so it doesn’t damage the grass when we are carrying tools and supplies on the campus. We have very little room to park vehicles. It’s convenient for us to pull off the road and park on the grass.”
“We can put two people in them, put shovels and rakes in the cargo box, or we can put dirt in the box and haul it,” Koble adds. “In the winter we place Bobcat sand and salt spreaders in the cargo box.” With a front-mounted snow removal attachment and a salt and sand spreader in the cargo box, the Toolcat 5600s are a complete snow and ice removal system.
Loyalty to Bobcat
We tried other equipment, but we’ve stuck with Bobcat because the company has been good to us, especially our local dealer, Bobcat of Grand Forks,” Koble says. “My employees are familiar with Bobcat machines, and it’s easier to stay with a trusted brand. Bobcat equipment is top-notch. And it’s a big deal for us that they’re made right here in North Dakota.” Bobcat skid-steer loaders and Toolcat machines are both manufactured in Gwinner, N.D.