Exploring the Libra Complex

Welcome back prospective Mudders!

As a first-year student at Mudd, I have to admit that there are still several places on campus that I have yet to visit. So far, I have been very impressed with all of the facilities at Mudd. This is why I thought you might enjoy joining me on my first in-depth tour of Mudd’s underground Libra Complex. 

The Libra Complex is a series of tunnels that run under many of the academic buildings on campus. There was a previous blog about the Libra Complex , but the Libra Complex has changed quite a bit since this was written. First off, the renovations at Galileo are complete. Secondly, McGregor (the computer science building) now houses the Makerspace and connects to the rest of the Libra Complex. 

I’ve been to both the Makerspace and the main lecture hall in Galileo, however, I feel like I am truly exploring because I could not find a map of the Libra Complex before I started. With a lack of information, I decided it would be best to jump right in (starting with what I know of course)! This meant entering the Libra Complex at Galileo. First-year students become very accustomed to Galileo because this is where many first-year lectures meet for class. 

Fountain with plants and a white statue in the center

Fountain in Hixon Courtyard outside of Galileo. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

View from the back of a lecture hall of rows of seats

Galileo McAlister Lecture Hall. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

It was not long before I found a map. It was not the best map, but it was enough for me to come up with a rough idea of where to explore.

A black and white map labeled "Looking for additional restrooms?" with a legend indicating Galileo restrooms, Additional restrooms, and Gender-neutral restrooms

A small laminated map of the Libra Complex that was located outside of Galileo. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

In addition to the map above, I found many other maps as well as markings that are on almost all of the walls and intersections. 

Blue paint on a wall reads "Parsons"

Gold paint reading "Galileo", orange paint reading "Beckman", and blue paint reading "Parsons" on two walls

The corners of walls are painted with the names of each building. 

Blue paint reading "Jacobs" and green paint reading "Keck: on the walls

The hallway where Jacobs and Keck meet (many labs are in this hallway). Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

Color coded map with a red dot indicating current location

A more formal map of the Libra Complex with color coded areas. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

Thanks to all of these maps and colorful stripes that line the hallways, I never had doubts about what building I was underneath. Rest assured future frosh, you will not get lost in the Libra Complex. 

As I turned a few more corners I came across the Clinic labs. These are where senior engineering students work on their real-life projects for different companies. Each clinic project is assigned a space for the group of students to work. If you choose to come to Mudd, depending on your major you may get a chance to participate in Clinic too!

Table in a room with glass walls

Different room with a table and chairs

Clinic spaces with lots of glass, white boards, chairs, and tables for students to work on Clinic projects. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

As I ventured deeper and deeper into the Libra Complex, I came across the sophomore engineering-79 lab. All mudders take engineering-79 their sophomore fall as part of Mudd’s core. This lab even contains a tank for E-79 students to test their underwater robots. 

Tank in a lab with stools, computers, and chairs

The large above ground tank for testing underwater robots. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

Students working in a lab

Students working in pairs in the E-79 lab surrounded with lots of equipment that is needed for the class. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

As I wrapped my way around the back side of the Libra complex, I was starting to get a little nervous because the hallways were very empty and a little bit darker. Then I realized that most of these rooms were actually offices. Since the professors at Mudd are so great, there is no reason to fear this area of the Libra Complex. I came around another corner and was temporarily blinded by the bright lights of the Makerspace and Machine Shop. 

The wood shop which is part of the machine shop. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

The makerspace from the point of view of the Libra Complex. The electrical area, jacquard loom, and printing press are visible. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

The metal shop which is also part of the machine shop. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

You’ve probably already heard about the Machine Shops and Makerspace, but let me tell you, I had no idea how many machine shops there were hidden in the halls of the Libra Complex. In fact, I lost count of how many doors had signs that read “machine shop”. I’m not sure how many of these are open to general use, however, Mudd has many classes that teach students how to manufacture different things. The most common of these classes is E-4 which is commonly known as the hammer-building class because students build a hammer as one of their projects. 

Speaking of building things, I found several prototypes during my journey. 

A trophy case filled with various small objects that are mostly made of metal and wood and look student made. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

The final notable thing that I found in the Libra Complex was many of Harvey Mudd’s lab spaces, including both lab spaces for classes as well Professor’s labs. These labs give Mudd students opportunities to have hands-on experience in many different specialized areas. 

Lab space with a robot arm and compressed gas containers

Some of the labs from the Libra Complex. Photo Credit: Audrey Thiessen

Signs on the door read "Laser in operation", "Physics Department: Stoddard Laboratory", and "Danger: Radioactive material"

The Libra Complex turned out to have many different useful spaces in it. I would consider my exploration successful because I did not get lost and I came back with many pictures to share with you all!

This blog was written by: Audrey Thiessen '26; Intended major: Chemistry; Oklahoma City, OK