Curious: There are rumors that there are tunnels under Harper—is that true?


A look inside a tunnel underneath Harper’s campus. (Photo by Ethan McClanahan.)

Tunnels and secret passageways underneath school campuses are often a staple of mysteries or conspiracies. Said tunnels may serve as a gathering place for cloaked cult members or a home to a sleeping beast hidden just beneath a lecture hall.

Most of the time, these kinds of stories turn out to be nothing more than the result of overactive imaginations. At Harper College, such tunnels aren’t only real, they also serve a vital purpose most students likely haven’t given a second thought to.

“They’re service tunnels that basically have steam lines that heat the entire campus,” Harper campus architect Stephen Petersen said. 

Starting from Building B, the tunnels spread out underneath nearly every building on campus for thousands of feet, providing heat to the classrooms and facilities students use every day. 

The tunnels have existed for as long as the campus has, serving the same purpose of heating Harper back then as they do today. The identity of who designed the tunnels is not known, however.

While skulking around beneath campus may sound like a fun adventure for students, it is not one they’re likely to undertake.

“We have them gated off, and you have to have card access to get into them,” Petersen said.

Even if a student were to find their way into the tunnels, it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.

“They’re not tunnels you could walk comfortably in,” Petersen stated. “They’re very hot in the winter, very hot in the summer.”

In addition, he claimed that the tunnels were a little “wet and dingy.” 

Animals don’t comfortably inhabit the tunnels either.

“I’ve never seen an animal down there,” Peterson said. “I haven’t even seen a rat.”