Mac Hall demolished in preparation for new science center


Linfield offered a livestream of the demolition of Mac Hall on YouTube. This is the progress as of midday on Wednesday, June 23.

Maddie Loverich, Editor-in-chief

Brick by brick, work crews began the demolition of Mac Hall on June 21 at the Linfield University McMinnville campus. The building, which was one of the oldest on campus, will be replaced with the $36.8 million W.M. Keck Science Center. The new addition, along with coinciding renovation of Graf Hall, is currently set to welcome students beginning in January of 2023.  

The namesake W.M. Keck Foundation donated $10 million to the project, the largest donation Linfield has ever received. The foundation has a history of funding projects at Linfield, like the 1998 purchase of 17 acres that are now home to the Hewlett-Packard apartments and surrounding university facilities. 

The science center will be Linfield’s largest construction project since the $10 million restoration of T.J. Day Hall in 2011. 

“As we look forward to the new science building, we also want to honor and celebrate Linfield’s past,” Director of Facilities and Auxiliary Services Allison Horn said. “A committee comprised of faculty, staff, alumni, and community members will be formed to make a recommendation regarding a physical marker to commemorate Mac Hall, as well as a time capsule to be placed on the site.”

The committee will work over the course of the 2021-2022 academic year and expects to eventually invite interested Linfield community members to submit ideas and stories for the capsule and marker. 

Mac Hall was the first building on campus to be built for student housing. Initially, it was a men’s dorm with 26 dorm rooms, but grew to house co-ed residents later on. According to reporting from The Linfield Review in 2009, large room sizes and in-room bathrooms made Mac Hall the choice residence hall on campus. 

In 2007, Elkington and Terrell halls opened for residents and Mac Hall was converted into offices for Information Technology Services. The building continued to house ITS until June 1 of this year. The department was moved to their new home in Malthus Hall on the northwest corner of campus. 

On June 21, visible demolition of Mac Hall began with the careful removal of some bricks on the exterior for future reuse in university projects. Then, excavators slowly began to pull pieces down from the top to reduce dust and airborne debris in surrounding areas. The school will broadcast a continual live-stream of the project on YouTube

The W.M. Keck Science Center will provide increased lab space, creating an additional 111 lab seats for students across all scientific disciplines. The building will also feature new indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, classrooms, and offices for faculty and staff. 

“A state-of-the-art science center where students can become scientists or science-informed leaders, cultivating science awareness is part of Linfield’s commitment to providing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary education,” Horn said. “Rising to meet Oregon’s demand for skilled STEM workforce, a new science complex, designed for inclusive collaboration, immersive learning and discovery, is a key initiative of the Linfield University mission.”