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OSU Buildings Histories in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Building History

An image of the Heating Plant.


Funds for the construction of the first heating plant on campus were appropriated by Oregon's 19th Legislative Assembly in 1897. The new heating plant not only provided more comfortable conditions for the college's burgeoning population, but also offered students the opportunity to engage in "valuable experimental work in engineering." As built, the building was 33 feet square, and steam was "furnished by a battery of two steel boilers, seventy-five horse power each, which is connected with the buildings by double lines of steam pipes running through underground brick conduits." The building was completed in October of 1899, and was located just north of the Administration building (present-day Community Hall).

Construction on a new heating plant - in its present-day location south of McAlexander Fieldhouse -  was completed in 1910. In 1923, after completion of a new, central heating plant just west of the existing plant, use of the old heating plant was discontinued. Construction broke ground on the most recent iteration of the heating plant in November 2006, nearly 84 years later. The new "energy center" would not only produce heat, but energy, with a 5.5 mega-watt generator to produce electricity. The old heating plant building will be renovated for use as a physics building.

Mark Clyde Phillips, a lifelong resident of Corvallis, and OSU alum, served as superintendent of the college heating plant from 1910-1947 and superintendent of the physical plant from 1937-1947.

General Information


501 SW Benton Pl, Corvallis, OR 97331 (current location)


J. Donald Kroeker, Jones and Marsh (1948); W. Bruce Morrison (1951, 1952, 1959, 1965); Devco Engineering (1993-1994)

Year Built

1899 (original heating plant on lower campus)


1948, 1951, 1952, 1959, 1965, 1993

Square Footage

1,089 (original heating plant)


University-wide heating

Previous Name(s)




Historic District



Facilities Services Records, 1888-2010


Oregon State University Campus Maps, 1894-1994


Walter R. Baker Photographs, circa 1863 - circa 1930 

Willibald Weniger Photographic Collection, 1870-1940

Harriet's Photograph Collection, circa 1868-1980

Further Archival Information

SCARC: SCARC's holdings include personal papers, photographs, maps, and university records documenting the history of the heating plant on campus.

Oregon Digital: Includes both images and textual materials documenting the history of the heating plant on campus.