Looking underground at Laurier

Walking to class can be a hassle when one has to walk in the blistering wind and freezing rain. However, Wilfrid Laurier University students used to have the option of traveling to class through underground tunnels where they were able to avoid any unpleasant weather.

The Peters building, the Dr. Alvin Woods Building (DAWB) -known as The Central Teaching Building when it was built in 1970- and the Library at WLU are connected by underground tunnels.

Cindy Preece, Archives administrator, believes these tunnels were built sometime around 1965.

Dan Graham, area manager of facility operations with physical resources, described that “the tunnel ran from the DAWB to the Library. Then, halfway over, there was another tunnel that ran off that to the basement of the Peters building – where the Schlegel building is now.”

According to Graham, the tunnels were “closed off sometime in 2001/2002 when there were renovations in the Library.”

“The reason they were closed off [to students] was because there was no more access to the Library,” Graham added.

This was due to the fact that the Library’s elevator was put in where the tunnels were located.

Graham was unsure whether or not the tunnels would open again.

However, the only tunnels that would still be usable are between the Peters building and the DAWB, which are already accessible through aboveground hallways.

Other universities, such as Carleton University and the University of Waterloo have tunnels of their own which connect a few, or in some cases all, of the campus buildings. These tunnels are still accessible to the campus community for use.

Currently, the underground tunnels at Laurier are now reserved as service tunnels. Graham explained that this is where the cooling and heating lines are located.

“I wish more buildings were connected now so that students could still use them to get to class. It would also be cool if Bricker was connected to the Concourse so we could easily get to Starbucks,” said Brittney Diaram, a third-year classics student.

Diaram added that she doesn’t have any safety concerns about the tunnels because she doesn’t “go to campus enough to worry about the school collapsing.”

Keevan Robertson, a third-year English and film studies student, stated, “The buildings are likely just as old [as the tunnels], so the only safety concerns would be security issues.”

Robertson also noted that “the tunnels would be very useful in reducing traffic in congested areas around campus and providing alternate routes during inclement weather.”

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