BY Zana Pommier
Students are surrounded by gossip of ghosts, underground tunnels and mysterious pools existing on campus. But what’s fact and what’s fiction?
Rumors that abound about underground tunnels on campus are true: they provide services to buildings.
They work by “providing utilities from the physical plant,” said Jeff Stedje, building maintenance supervisor.
“The widest area of the main tunnel allows for one person to pass through and you must duck your head to avoid hitting valves that have 260 degree steam flowing through them,” said Jeff Goebel, MSUM’s physical plant manager.
The tunnels also include 12,500 volt main power feeds as well as fiber optic cables for fire alarm and building control systems.
Students who hate cold weather will be disappointed to know that underground tunnels for pedestrians will probably never exist on campus. Despite student demand, underground tunnels for pedestrian use would be an extremely expensive addition to campus. The Red River Valley’s high water table would require waterproofing the tunnels and installing dewatering pumps.
Dewatering seems to be a prevalent problem on campus as the rumors of Flora Frick’s pool are also true. In fact, the pool is still intact and contains the air handler and piping that support the Dragon Cafe.
“The pool was too small for competitive swimming and fell out of use as Nemzek’s pool was built in 1972,” Goebel said.
According to Moorhead Magazine, the pool was even used for an Aquatic club in the 1930’s that produced “Surf Pageants.”
Although the pool closed down in 2000, the area continues to bring in traffic with the new generation’s most popular eatery on campus.
Continuing the building’s theme of physical education, a gymnasium also existed in Flora Frick. The gymnasium no longer exists, but remnants of it remain.
“The evidence of a gym can be seen above the 2nd floor of Frick 154 where we have an airhandler hung in the ceiling,” Goebler said.
Students have heard about the Holmquist slab, but few seem to know it exists because of a 15-story, 163.5 foot tall building that once occupied the spot proudly as one of the highest in the surrounding area. Taller than Nelson, the dormitory was a landmark for campus. Built in 1970, the high-rise was only 29 years old when it was imploded in 1999. The caisson in the building had started to fail and caused the building to have a slight lean.
“Neumeier Hall was deemed structurally unsafe and was imploded,” Goebel said.
The building had housed over 10,000 students and the name continues to be honored by the John Neumeier apartments, built in 2002.
Perhaps the biggest legend on campus revolves around the infamous death of a janitor in Weld. While the spiral staircase on which the supposed accident happened does exist, the truth behind the death is unknown.
The Housing and Residential Life staff seem to think it’s a rumor.
“I think that’s the big ghost story,” said Kirsti Fleming, Assistant Director of Business Services.