Hidden Infrastructure Within Campus

Utility Tunnel, Central Connecticut State University

In 2002, Central Connecticut State University embarked on a remarkable infrastructure construction project that would not only greatly improve how the campus operated but also create a beautiful new setting for the CCSU community.

For many years, CCSU had an antiquated steam heating system that was inadequate for its 3 million-square-foot campus and certainly wouldn’t provide for the university plans to grow by another 1-million-square-feet.

As prime designer, BVH designed the 2,000-foot main underground utility tunnel to connect 36 campus buildings to a new energy center. The tunnel, successfully built through the middle of an active college campus, provided the means for several significant infrastructure upgrades including water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, natural gas, telecommunications and electric service.

BVH’s tunnel design relocated the campus’ primary electrical services, created a new buried, concrete-encased duct bank distribution system, and removed he existing high-voltage distribution lines that traversed the campus. BVH also designed the relocated steam and condensate, telephone, data, fire alarm, and communications utilities, as well as the new chilled water distribution piping inside the new tunnel. As well, BVH designed the hot and chilled water direct buried systems that connect to the tunnel systems and run to each building.

The tunnel project also provided significant site improvements and landscape enhancements for CCSU. Building the tunnel required digging a city street that cut through the campus, which was later replaced by a large, campus common with green spaces and a water feature. Students now have an inviting system of walkways and outdoor sitting areas that connects the campus buildings, all while covering the new state-of-the-art utilities underneath.


Prime Consultant: BVH Integrated Services, PC

Size / Cost

$13.5 million


2005 ACEC of Connecticut Engineering Excellence


Civil, electrical, fire protection, mechanical, plumbing, structural