Mark Hanlon tugs at the recessed latch on the heavy steel trap door. It won’t budge. He glances quickly around the mass of heating and cooling equipment in the University’s central utility plant, finds something vaguely key-like and tries again. This time the door pops open. Hanlon, the operations manager for the University’s physical plant, drops through the floor onto a steel ladder and into a world few alumni or students ever see—the subterranean cooling tunnel connecting the plant’s functional equipment with Kuhlman and Buenger halls. Well-lit, dry and remarkably clean, the tunnel heads off in two directions carrying a profusion of pipes.
The tunnel is one of many such mysterious places peppered around the campus. Generally unseen—and often unknown to students and the general public—these spots tend to be unreachable without a key and the assistance of authorized personnel. For these very reasons, we decided to explore some of the more intriguing sites around campus and, in the process, reveal aspects of Xavier’s beauty, graceful imagery and unique vantage points that may otherwise go ignored.
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