While classes are in full swing at Lorain County Community College, there is a lot of work being done underneath the students’ feet. In several of the buildings on the main campus, the basements are linked with underground tunnels, unknown to many students.
Introducing the tunnels
Unlike the basements of the buildings, the 2,873-foot long tunnels are off-limits to students.
“The tunnels are used for main utility distribution: hot water, chilled water used in the air conditioning, IT infrastructure,” said Leo Mahoney, director of facilities at LCCC. These tunnels have been utilized since the original founding of the college in the 1960s.
Sixty years later, these tunnels are being renovated, a project that started the week following the 2022 commencement ceremony. “It’s a concrete structural renovation to make sure it’s safe for the next 60 plus years,” said Mahoney.
“We haven’t had any flooding, no disasters on the job; it’s been kinda steady work,” said Timothy Gadomski, project manager.
The team renovating the tunnels has been working throughout the summer — much of their time dedicated to prep work, including knocking out the bad sections of the walls before they are able to replace and seal the new sections. Much of the roofing is being replaced as well, to get rid of any decay caused naturally and by the years of salt deterioration.
There have been little delays, however, none hindering the completion of the project. “One section is in a bit of a delay because we have different options, like removing a beam that is supporting the corner of a building or just doing a patched repair,” said Gadomski.
Overall the project cost is about $2 million although the Ohio State Senate has assisted LCCC in this project after assessing the tunnels in 2019. The state has granted the college more than $1 million for this project.
“The majority of the visible above ground work we are hoping to have done before the snow falls,” said Mahoney, although the additional underground work will take another six months, hoping to be officially completed within a year.