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Extensive tunnel system under campus used for maintenance, not travel

MOORHEAD – Upperclassmen students may be familiar with rumors of tunnels underground connecting Olin Center and the Comstock Theater, but in reality there is a rather extensive system of tunnels located under Concordia.  

Although the tunnels exist, they are not used often and are not available to students.  

“They travel to just about all the buildings on campus,” Plant Operations and Maintenance Manager, Tim Brown said. 

These tunnels lie underground and connect most of the buildings on campus, with a few exceptions. 

The Welcome Center, the President’s house, the Advancement Center, Aasgaard house and Old Main do not have tunnels connecting them like the rest of the campus buildings. Olson Forum doesn’t have a tunnel underneath it per say, instead the tunnel travels to Memorial and the pipes move through the building to Olson. 

“The tunnel systems carry the steam, chilled water, electricity,” Brown said. 

All other buildings are connected to the Berg steam plant, which supplies buildings with steam via the pipes that run through the maintenance tunnels. Steam helps to heat the buildings on campus and when condensed, forms hot water. 

“Steam goes into the mechanical room sand they convert it to hot water. That’s how they heat the buildings,” HVAC technician Larry Jensen, said. 

The tunnels are not used for transportation and are strictly used for maintenance of the water, steam, sewer and electrical lines. The tunnels make for easier access to them as opposed to having to dig up pipes to service them.  

“I try to get down there once a month just to do inspections. Looking for steam leaks, water leaks, anything that’s not normal,” Jensen said.  

The tunnels are too small and cramped to be used for normal, day-to-day transportation and movement. It would be faster and easier to walk or drive from building to building.  

A maintenance tunnel heading out of Berg steam plant.
Noah Bloch / The Concordian

“A lot of them, there’s just enough room to walk through, they are not wide, and you can’t transport anything through them,” says Brown. 

The maintenance tunnels are not to be used by students and are kept locked. 

Some parts of the tunnels have been in existence since the last heating plant was in use, through the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. 

“Some of them are probably close to 50 years old, the original ones. The heating plant used to be a little ways south of (where the plant is now)” Brown said.  

The maintenance tunnels also allow for ease of updating electrical systems.  

“If you need to run something, like an upgrade to the elctrical or control systems,” said Brown. 

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