Partly CloudyNow
4 °C
39 °F
Partly CloudyMon
6 °C
44 °F
Chance of RainTue
9 °C
49 °F
Partly CloudyWed
2 °C
36 °F
Send Us A News Tip

Thursday August 2nd, 2012

Posted at 2:15pm

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A portion of UWindsor’s tunnel network is unearthed following the demolition of Cody Hall

The University of Windsor has a sprawling network of underground tunnels — but no, you can’t go in them.

For the longest time it has been known that their is a complex network of service tunnels underneath the campus of the University of Windsor. For a time, their existence was the talk of rumours: rumours that they had been passageways for students back when the University opened in the 1960′s, rumours that they didn’t exist, rumours that they were only a small network between Assumption University and a few other buildings.

The University of Windsor sits on top of several thousand feet of utility tunnels. The tunnels originate from the “Energy Conversion Centre”, the Campus’ main powerplant (the spaceship-like building near 7/11), and carry high pressure steam piping, high-voltage electricity cabling, compressed air lines and chilled water to service nearly every building on campus.

The University tunnels use a concept of distributed heating and cooling, much like a similar project in Downtown Windsor. A building located on Windsor’s riverfront called the Central Refrigeration Plant chills water and sends it through the tunnel network during summer months. The chilled water is used for buildings’ air conditioning systems. In the winter, high pressure steam is used for heating campus buildings.

When it snows, the hot tunnels often melt would-be snow-covered sidewalks before the snow even has the chance to stick. In the winter, watch how fast snow melts at the entrance to Dillon Hall, or look for a clear patch of cement across University Avenue near the Leddy Library.

With this spring’s demolition of Cody Hall, a former residence building, building deconstruction crews unearthed a portion of tunnels that makes their way through the main areas of campus. The large concrete box carries steam, cable TV, internet and other utilities to two of the University’s operating residences. This concept of distributing utilities from a central point, also found at many other University campuses in North America, allows institutions to keep costs low and centralize operations.

It may be true at one point in time that the tunnels were usable by students, professors and the like, however those days have since passed: the tunnels are locked tight, alarmed and access is enforced to only permit maintenance workers and building contractors in to keep things running efficiently.

University of Windsor Service Tunnels

The interior of the University’s newer tunnels, photographed during a tour in 2009. The older tunnels are square in shape, newer tunnels are constructed from pre-cast sewer pipe

University of Windsor Service Tunnel Construction

Coco Paving installed these large concrete tubes under a parking lot south of Wyandotte Street in 2009. The tubes formed a new section of tunnel to the Centre for Engineering Innovation and reaffirmed the University’s commitment to efficient utility supply in new buildings

University of Windsor Tunnel Clues

This odd landscape feature at the corner of Wyandotte and Sunset is a ventilation shaft for the tunnel system

 

University of Windsor Tunnel Clues

The Central Refrigeration Plant, where chilled water is produced and set across campus, is pictured on Windsor’s riverfront

 

University of Windsor Tunnel Clues

Pictured is a seemingly normal shed type building which serves as a Pay n’ Display station in a parking lot. Maintenance crews use the hatch on the rooftop to access the tunnels which run from the St. Denis Centre, under train tracks, and down Sunset Avenue

 

Do You Like This Article?