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Tunnel expansion begins

| Sunday, April 6, 2014

Following the University’s announcement of upcoming building construction across campus, the Office of Facilities Design and Operations began construction of the underground tunnel system late last month, Director of Construction and Quality Assurance Doug Schlagel said.
Schlagel said the construction will have minimal impact on students because the work primarily affects the edges of campus, where students don’t often spend time.
“It may certainly affect how some off-campus students arrive to and where they would traditionally park and how they would walk from their car to their building,” he said.
Schalgel said his office will give frequent and visible notice about any interruptions.
“Through a series of postings to our website with maps and navigational routes and announcements across campus, we’re hoping to make sure that everyone has the information and it’s clear to help minimize any disruptions that all this work could potentially have,” he said.
According to documents on the Facilities Design and Operations website, the tunnel construction is broken into two branches. The east branch of the tunnel begins at the power plant and extends east of Stepan Center, then south to Library Circle, near the site of the recently announced research facility. The south branch of the tunnel will connect south quad to the Compton Family Ice Arena, moving east in front of DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and crossing Eddy Street before extending to Compton.
The most significant concern for the east branch will be access to Hammes Mowbray Hall, which houses the campus post office and Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) headquarters, Schlagel said.
“The biggest challenge is making sure that there’s always public access to the post office and Notre Dame Security Police, which through a series of planning meetings with security and other campus constituents, we were able to make sure that that facility is available and open to the public at all times,” he said. “Short of just some traffic reconfiguration and traffic control and signage, we think that that should be fine.”
Schlagel said the construction on the tunnel system is preliminary work meant to make way for new campus educational and residential facilities.
“The purpose of the tunnel and utility infrastructure work that’s being implemented is to help support and connect to the central power plant the new facilities that are being planned for campus,” he said. “This includes the new research complex, two new residence halls, Jenkins-Nanovic Hall, which is the social sciences building, and then of course the Campus Crossroads project, everything involved with the stadium and the School of Architecture building.”
The Office of Facilities and Design plans to complete most of the aboveground work prior to freshman orientation and the first home football game Aug. 30, Schlagel said.
“That’s not to say that there won’t be work continuing inside the tunnels themselves because there’s a lot of piping and that sort of stuff that has to happen after the tunnel itself is built,” he said. “The idea is to basically have the sites restored by the time students return in August.”
Schlagel said students should be aware of their surroundings and regularly check The [email protected] emails to remain up to date on road closures and affected facilities.

About Jack Rooney

Jack is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, and The Observer's former managing editor. He is currently spending a year living and working for the University in Ireland, and writing columns to keep him busy. For more random thoughts and plenty of news links, follow Jack on Twitter @RooneyReports.

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