Texas A&M University was established in 1871 — with the majority of buildings built in the 40-50s. The technology used to heat/cool the main campus buildings is over half a century old. Yes, I am talking about the TAMU Tunnels — commonly referred to as the “steam tunnels.” Of course with old things, comes controversy and mystery. “Some say that secret societies meet down there. Others tell stories of weapons being stored underground. But, either way, many people agree that if you get caught sneaking into them you will be expelled” (Battalion, 2007). For more then two decades the tunnels have been closed to students — and for good reason.
When I was a freshman, I was once told a story by an alumni — back with the University was still Texas A&M College for men only — his dorm and another dorm (both old buildings supplied by the tunnels) were constantly in a state of rivalry. One night, a group of students went into the tunnels and turned off the rival dorm’s master water supply. Then they went up into the building and removed the toilet fixtures right off the walls. Some students then buried the toilets around campus as the others went back into the tunnels and turned the dorm’s water supply back on — they even locked the master valve in the tunnels with a padlock. Of course with no fixtures on the walls the building began to flood with thousands of gallons of water.
The alumni went on to say that they never found the students that did it. And the dorm had so much damage the college gave a reward to anyone that found one of the buried toilets — because it would be cheaper then buying new ones. He also said, not all of them were found and are most likely still buried around campus. I do not know if this is true, but it made for a good steam tunnel story.
Now, why am I telling you about the A&M steam tunnels, you ask? Today I got to enter the tunnels. Under my work building of Henderson Hall (an old dorm) is a primary access point for entering the tunnels. There are miles of tunnels under A&M campus, just 10 feet under our feet in some places. We went into the tunnels to check out the buildings foundation, not exactly any destination. I asked questions (I was interested, so shoot me) about the tunnels. I found out that you could walk from married student housing all the way to Kyle field completely underground in the tunnels (and not in a straight line like on the map above). For those that do not know campus, married student housing all the way to Kyle field is the red line on this map. Now I can say that I have been in the infamous steam tunnels (and not expelled).