Northeastern’s underground tunnel system is one of campus’ hidden gems. It’s an effective way of traveling between a number of buildings—including Snell Library and the Curry Student Center—especially when it’s cold, raining, or snowing outside. But its maze-like layout has also made it hard to navigate—that is, until now.
The university recently finished redesigning the tunnel system, installing large, colorful signage to help students, faculty, and staff get their bearings and find their way from one building to the next. The tunnel renovation project also included the installation of new flooring, energy-efficient overhead lighting, some two dozen wireless access points, and more than 1,200 new lockers.
Here’s a photo tour of the renovated tunnel system, complete with everything you need to know to make the most of your underground travels.
One of the primary entrances to the tunnel system can be found next to the entrance to Northeastern’s Bookstore. A key painted on the wall to the left of the tunnel’s entryway lists the 11 buildings you can reach by traversing the 16,705-square-foot underground network: Cabot Gym; Churchill Hall; the Curry Student Center; Dodge Hall; Ell Hall; Forsyth Hall; Hayden Hall; Mugar Hall; Richards Hall; Snell Library; and Snell Engineering.
Walk this way
More than three dozen colorful wayfinding graphics and maps with easy-to-follow keys line the walls of the tunnels, showing you exactly where you are and how to get to your destination. All of the tunnel’s elevator cabs have wayfinding graphics painted on them as well, telling you where your ride will take you.
Lock it up
All 1,286 of the tunnel’s new lockers are bigger—now 3 feet by 2 feet—and hardwired. Soon, students will be able to rent the lockers through the myNEU portal and use their Husky Cards to operate them. Each locker is identified with both a letter and number code, signifying its exact location in the tunnel system. One locker, for example, is inscribed with the code “RI 200,” with the RI standing for Richards Hall.
Let the light guide you
Last year, Northeastern began installing 1,200 150 kilowatt-hour LED Bi-Level light fixtures in campus stairwells. And now more than 40 of them are being used to light the way in the tunnels. These so-called smart lights—which have replaced the tunnel’s 1-by-4 fluorescent strips—will automatically dim by 50 percent if they do not sense movement for one hour. The lights also feature a daylight sensor, meaning that those placed near windows with sunlight shining through will dim even if the space is occupied. Installing all 1,200 smart lights would save the campus at least 180,000 kWh each year—a total that would eclipse the annual energy consumed by more than 16 typical U.S. homes.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
The tunnel system includes five sustainability graphics, informing passersby of little-known facts about the importance of reducing waste and conserving resources. Did you know that more than 190 refillable water bottle stations have been installed at Northeastern over the past three years, preventing 8.8 million plastic water bottles from entering into the waste stream?