Remembering Ames High: The Tunnel
The Ames High tunnel leading from the gymnasium to the football stadium is one of the many unique oddities that the alumni of AHS remember of their days walking the halls. With its entrance located across from the Ames High athletic training room, a countless number of students have walked through the black and orange tunnel that leads to the football stadium.
In 1965, the Ames High football stadium was complete. The competition gymnasium was finished a year later in 1966, which was also when the tunnel was installed. The Ames Tribune noted in May 1965 that the tunnel was “still in the air.” At the time, the school board had planned to spend approximately $20,000 on the tunnel and was at the time looking at a similarly curved concrete tunnel that was being built on the campus of Iowa State University.
Once built, the tunnel provided an element-free path for players and coaches to move from the school to the locker rooms and offices located at the football stadium. Ames High basketball coach Vance Downs, who has been part of numerous memorable moments at the gymnasium, feels a bit of nostalgia about the tunnel knowing that those moments are now limited. “We would walk up the dark tunnel and into the entryway to the gym and the light and the crowd noise would grab your attention. Some nights it was so loud you could feel the volume.”
In the mid-1990s, the Student Council painted the tunnel to its current format of alternating black and orange sections. The fate of the tunnel will be the same as the rest of the high school building: it will be inaccessible once the building is decommissioned in early 2023.