Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

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A Basement of Stories

Lying beneath the well-known halls of MHS is an extensive maze of tunnels and rooms that are decidedly less well-known to both students and staff. Breezes asked Principal Erickson to take us on a tour of these tunnels shrouded in mystery, and, unsurprisingly, it was as creepy as one might expect.

At 10:30 on February 1, Breezes met up with Principal Erickson. He brought us to the entrance of the Minnetonka High School
backrooms. The elevator was dimly lit, stained on all sides, and smelled like old clothes. The room in the basement was boiling hot and this small room was where the journey got interesting.

Immediately outside the elevator into the basement was a door that is sure to pique the interest of many.
This intimidating door is marked with the symbol for a fallout shelter. Many buildings had fallout shelters
built during the Cold War era as a way to prepare for a potential nuclear attack and the resulting fallout.
Most shelters were designed and stocked to allow their occupants to survive in them for a very long time.
There is currently no record of the dimensions or layout of the shelter. However, these spaces are mandated to be big enough to hold the maximum occupancy of the building they are located in, which for Minnetonka High School, would be a staggeringly large space.

What’s more is that Principal Erickson’s master key cannot open the door — and no key has been able
to open it for a long time. So long, in fact, that Erickson cannot recall the last recorded time the door was
opened. Although he has no knowledge of what is behind the door, it can be assumed that, much like most fallout shelters, it contains water drums, food rations, sanitary and medical kits, radiation detectors, ventilation devices, and other supplies. Due to the highly secretive nature of the shelter, however, it would be very difficult to confirm or deny that anytime soon.

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As we moved deeper and deeper into the maze of halls and rooms, we noticed how many seemingly random staircases and ladders were sprinkled through-out the space. Erickson said that they lead to a variety of places. Some lead to art classrooms on the first floor, some to the health office, and others lead to arbitrary hallways for janitorial usage.

Beyond the elevator and through a second door, the basement level opened up into a very large, very mysterious space. The space was around 44 by 55 feet, and was an old locker room. It is very much not in use anymore; there were showers filled with old auditorium and forum seats, walls covered in spackle, temperature-taking devices from the COVID era scattered around the room, old theater costumes littering the floor, and shower heads surrounded by unmarked boxes and panels from the old loft,
all remnants of bygone eras here at Minnetonka High School.

One of the most interesting aspects of the labyrinthine space were the boxes upon boxes of old school records stacked against
the walls and up to the ceilings. These records range from payment receipts, to student AP exam scores, to records of major disci-plinary cases dating back to 2000. Of course, Breezes staff members weren’t allowed to see any of the specific documents, but post-it notes stuck to the boxes state that they were supposed to be destroyed in 2023, so the group wasn’t sure if they were supposed to be seeing the boxes at all.

Deep in the basement, after many hallways and sharp corners, Erick-
son opened another door that led to the most inhabited part of the entire

basement — the entrance to a wrestling room and a weight lifting room
that looks as though it has been transported directly from the 1950s.

When asked about the gym, Ben Ferguson, ‘25, said, “The gym has always been creepy, especially when the lights on the right side turn on and it gets weirdly dim.” Weights have “Made in 1980” stamped on the sides, and the equipment is squeaky and weak. On the far side of the weight room sits an office that looks as if someone worked there long ago, but it now sits unused and undusted. Cobwebs stretch across the corners, an old analog television sits on the table, old cleats sit on the floor, and StarTribune articles about basketball games from 1994 are tacked to the walls. The crown jewel was a Windows computer from before 2000 on the desk, which did not turn on. The Breezes staff continued on, and made their way into the main wrestling room. It was the most well-lit room of the entire tour and there were obvious signs that people had been down there recently, including a working bathroom, albeit not one in the best condition. Erickson explained that this is actually an extension of the fallout shelter, and is the newest part of the complex, which was apparent in the condition of the room.

As we made our way back at the end of the tour, we walked back through the maze of hallways we had come through. Eventually, we made our way back to the unbearably hot room, and back up the elevator. We thanked Principal Erickson, and parted ways. While there are obviously many more questions about all that is down there, hopefully some of your most burning ones have been answered.

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