Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 1, 2005
"So what's with all those mysterious stairways that I see around campus? Are there secret underground tunnels or something? What the heck's down there?"
The tunnels lead to a secret underground bomb shelter with enough food and supplies to last 300 of the UA's elite for a year and a half! The tunnels lead to a secret meeting area for the enigmatic May Day conspirators, a series of rooms that seismic readings have revealed to be a giant puzzle box of unforgiving logic puzzles and death traps guarded by 1,000-year-old knights from the last crusade! The tunnels are a secret burial ground housing the remains of previous university presidents!
I'm sure you've heard all of these before, but only one of them is true. And by that, I mean that none of these are true.
On the UA Facilities Management Web site, it says the system of tunnels were initially installed in 1926 and upgraded in the years since, with the largest expansion occurring during the 1960s and with the most recent additions put into place in 2001. There are seven miles of utility tunnels under the main campus alone, with another system built under the Arizona Health Sciences Center.
I took a tour down there under the Student Union Memorial Center with maintenance supervisor Paul Ewer about a year ago, and we found a veritable cornucopia of interesting stuff. Hot water pipes, cold water pipes, reclaimed water pipes, electric circuits, pneumatic air systems, fire safety systems, telecommunications and more.
And yes, there was a mysterious fire down there some time back, according to former public relations spokeswoman Sharon Kha, and firefighters had a hard time trying to put it out. It took several days to completely extinguish the fire.
I've yet to check the alignment of the tunnel entrances with an astrological map, but I'm guessing that this is all there is to this mystery. Case closed.
Investigation by Kris Cabulong, campus detective
-If you've been puzzled by a certain campus-related mystery or conspiracy, e-mail the campus detective at firstname.lastname@example.org!