Tunnels create connected underground campus



By Danielle Kaye

Students walking the paths of UK might not know what lies beneath their feet.

Since the campus’ establishment in 1865, university-hired developers and engineers have cultivated an underground tunnel system running the expanse of campus grounds.

Many of these tunnels cater to practicality for utilities that maintain the university’s inner workings.

Fred Wells, the supervisor over maintenance on campus, said the tunnels serve to regulate domestic cold water, chill water and the heating and cooling facilities.

The tunnels were usually built when the buildings were built, Wells said.

However, not all tunnels on campus are connected.

The primary tunnel systems pass between Patterson Office Tower and White Hall and underneath the engineering complex.

The tunnel system between Patterson and White Hall provides students and staff the option to walk underground between buildings— an advantage for the fast approaching winter months, said Kevin Kreide, the director of physical plant at UK.

“I love them,” said Andy Lewis, a natural resource conservation senior. “I like them because nobody knows about them and I can go between places without anyone knowing. It’s nice during winter because you don’t have to go outside.”

In the architecture complex, classrooms are connected to allow students and professors a larger workspace, much like a large basement, Kriede said.

Although these tunnels add another dimension to the university’s infrastructure, not all the tunnels are available for public use.

Many of the tunnels, used for utilities, are only available to maintenance staff and are off limits to the public.

The tunnels on South Campus, between the Kirwan and Blanding complexes, do not only serve the purpose of utilities. In the event of an emergency, the tunnels can be used as a shelter facility for residents, Kriede said.

“There are all these cool resources down here like the Mathskeller and the Post Office,” Lewis said. “It adds a secret second level to UK’s campus – you thought it was big and then you find out it has a secret level.”