The Oracle

Students: do not enter

Hamline University’s underground tunnels connect the main buildings on campus.

Halima Ahmed, Reporter

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Starting in Manor Hall, the utility tunnels run beneath the Central Plant, Bush Memorial Library and several other structures, making a total of ten tunnels. They each have individual sizes and lengths, some as large as two stories deep.

“I had no idea that there were tunnels at Hamline,” sophomore Zaira Rebollar said.

There is a reason, though, why many do not know about the tunnels and why students are not allowed to freely walk through them. 13,000 volts of electricity flow through the tunnels, connecting the buildings on campus.

“The tunnels are used to deliver all energy including water, steam and electrical throughout Hamline,” said Associate Vice President of Facilities Services Lowell Bromander. The tunnels also transport all of the central air, computer networks and internet to Hamline’s buildings.

The tunnels are exclusively used for utility purposes and require Hamline Public Safety staff to be present when entering.

“These are confined spaces and are restricted to staff only,” Bromander said.

Even staff have to be prepared with the right tools as the tunnels are a hazardous environment. However, this has not stopped students from venturing beneath the campus.

In the past, the tunnels between Sorin Hall and Manor were opened for students to pass through to get food without having to brave the extreme Minnesota weather. Over the years, students have left elaborate drawings and other marks of their presence in the tunnels.

“[After 9/11] strict procedures were put in place to prevent any sort of catastrophe,” Bromander said. The event caused national infrastructure guidelines to be reviewed and changed.

Bromander explained that security was heightened in the tunnels to protect students and faculty. New locks were added and overall security was increased.

“These are a non-public space,” Bromander  said.

Sophomore Malenie Ven agreed, touching on the danger of the tunnels.

“I didn’t know about the tunnels. I think people should stay out of them if they’re dangerous,” Ven said.

Bromander went on to reiterate the danger of the tunnels.

“13,000 voltages of electricity are medium volts, and that’s a lot,” Bromander said. “It’s not easy to find your way out.”

These tunnels, like many other underground places, are dark with large pipes and are difficult to navigate. Similar to other utility structures, Hamline’s tunnels are not intended for public usage.

“We don’t want students in the tunnels,” Bromander said.

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Students: do not enter