Beneath the surface

THE EXECUTION CHAIR: A rickety old chair sits in the middle of the basement.

A look under West Side’s hallowed halls reveals an unknown past.

There are many different theories regarding the basement of West Lafayette High School. How far does it go? Are there tunnels? Do we even have a basement?

On Friday 14, 2011 those elusive questions were answered, along with a few no one ever thought to ask, when Mr. Shriner led a group of three publications students to the depths of the school.

Until the school was remodeled in the late 1990s it’s entrance was located at what is now an unused door on the side of school and had class in what is now IT Zach Baiel’s headquarters.

The last time students made the trek into the barren tunnels of the basement was around ten years ago

when a small group of students were able to find an entrance and camp out in the basement during lunch. Mr. Shriner explains, it was two weeks before they were caught. They left behind a root beer can and comic book that are still there today.

Going to the basement involves trudging down a set of stairs that look much like most of the stairs on the upper levels. These stairs, though, open into a surprisingly large classroom that was once a social studies class, says Mr. Shriner.

The basement is really a series of tunnels that snakes under the school. Marking its entrance is a lone chair, forebodingly dubbed the “execution” chair by publication students,set of double doors leading into the dark, seemingly endless tunnels.

History’s Mysteries: An old and empty soda can sits near a crawl space

However, in actuality these tunnels only snake between about the guidance entrance and the paint room on the other side of school.

Opposite the basement is the school’s roof. This tar mat-covered, lofty plain offers the best view of West Lafayette from school. But do not get your hopes up; the only keys that open the door to the roof will soon be taken out of circulation.

West Side is filled with many odd rooms – trick doors and hidden places are all around if you look close enough.


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