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Secret Alcohol Room Found at Citadel

February 26, 2000

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ A secret room beneath a Citadel barracks where cadets slipped away to party wasn’t so hard for school administrators to find.

Eight cadets face disciplinary action after school officials this month found a utility room beneath barracks where cadets apparently drank at the alcohol-free college.

They face punishment that could include 360 tours _ each tour is 50 minutes of marching in the barracks with a rifle. The punishment is expected to be announced next week, said college spokeswoman Heather Anderson.

Retired Brig. Gen. Emory Mace, the commandant of cadets, said the underground room was discovered during a night inspection to make sure cadets were all in their rooms.

The cadet making the inspection knocked on the door to the Padgett-Thomas Barracks but did not immediately receive an answer. Then, a few minutes later, five or six cadets came running out.

School officials learned cadets had found a 2-foot trap door beneath a desk that opened onto a 200-square-foot room below with dirt walls and floor.

The barracks, dating to 1922, is the oldest on campus. The underground rooms were once used to service pipes and mechanical equipment, Anderson said.

The trap doors have been sealed and, as part of an ongoing barracks replacement program, the Padgett-Thomas Barracks is scheduled to be torn down later this year, she said.

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