“I’ve heard that there are underground tunnels on campus as well as downtown Columbia. (Not sure if they’re connected.) Could you find out why they were created? And do you know if there are ever tours?” — Tammy Mann, certification officer, education department
Columbia College does have some underground tunnels on campus. According to Bob Hutton, executive director of Administrative Services, the college still has some abandoned steam tunnels left over from when the college had a central steam plant that piped steam to all the old buildings.
The tunnels were abandoned when the new HVAC system was installed around 1994. There are pieces of the tunnels remaining, some of which are utilized for underground electrical conduits, Hutton said. But none of the tunnels are either accessible or large enough to tour.
There are other tunnels throughout Columbia though, especially over at the University of Missouri. According to an article published by MU’s Campus Facilities in 1999, there are miles of tunnels running beneath the MU campus that serve as maintenance passageways.
You can listen to this story by KBIA 91.3 that debunks any tunnel myths in the city of Columbia. The reporters say yes, there are tunnels in the city, but nothing too exciting — just for drains and the like!
This is the first installment of “Ask PR,” a new column dedicated to answering your questions about the college. Can’t figure something out and don’t know where to find the answer? Email Celia Darrough, public relations coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.