Residents of Bishop Roberts and Longden first-year residence halls have likely noticed that the tunnels connecting the two historic buildings have been blocked off and locked this semester. In the past, these tunnels allowed Bishop Roberts residents access to Bishop Roberts’ laundry room, according to DePauw's website.
Now, Bishop Roberts and Longden have their own laundry rooms in their buildings and recent decisions by the University have led to the permanent closing of these tunnels.
According to Warren Whitesell, associate vice president for facilities management, two major plans created in 2018 contributed to the decision to close Longden’s tunnels. The Student Housing Master Plan (SHMP) and Campus Energy Master Plan (CEMP) focus on DePauw’s first-year residence halls.
“SHMP focused on the first-year housing in South Quad producing Vernon E Jordan Hall,” Whitesell said. The CEMP plan involved constructing a new heating and cooling system for several major campus buildings.
An updated piping system means that the tunnel is no longer accessible to pedestrian traffic. For this reason, the University decided to close off Longden’s tunnels. In the future, the tunnel will be removed entirely, according to Whitesell.
Student opinion on this decision varies. “I had no idea there were tunnels like that. I feel like those should be removed because no one should be using them now,” first-year and Bishop Roberts resident Ashley Block said.
Jade Tatom, a first-year student and Longden resident, found herself disappointed with the decision. “It’s an important piece of the history of student life. It connected the dorms, and...connected some students,” Tatom said.