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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Students Can Now Go Underground

Ceremony marked opening of CSU/Library Link.

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, 11-14-2013

The end of the “underground pedestrian link” project at Minnesota State University ended like many do, with a Stomper appearance, a pep band performance, and a pair of really big scissors.

President Richard Davenport ceremoniously cut the ribbon Wednesday afternoon on the lower level of the MSU Memorial Library, which allowed hundreds of onlookers to finally flood through the underground connection between the library and the lower level of the Centennial Student Union.

Just don’t call it a tunnel, Davenport said. “Tunnels don’t have windows.”

As the walkway’s first pedestrians saw firsthand, the west side facing the parking lot has a large area made up of windows, which currently looks out onto a dirt slope that will become an outdoor amphitheater for performances.

“It’s a lot lighter than I thought,” said Ben Johnson. “Lots of room, too. It’ll make the winter walks around campus a lot easier.”

That was the whole idea behind the project when it came up three years ago, Davenport said. He was approached by a disabled student who expressed concern about getting to the library during the winter months.

“That was the first time it really hit home for me,” Davenport said.

Part of MSU’s “Big Ideas” campaign to create “the campus of the future,” the project cost $1.2 million. Groundbreaking took place in May, and a rainy spring caused a few delays, which Dean of Library Services Joan Roca joked about during Wednesday’s unveiling. He said it was interesting for the library staff and faculty to watch the giant hole fill up with water and turn into a swimming pool.

Among Roca’s thank-yous, he showed appreciation to the students for dealing with five months of inconvenient access to the library.

But Roca added he’s willing to bet no one will remember that during the next six months of frigid temps as they’re enjoying their warm walk from the Student Union to the library.

About 9,500 people visit the student union daily, and 5,000 people visit the library.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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