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University Archives

MacKay Heating Plant

Former Names: Campus Power Plant (1931-1966)

MacKay Heating Plant is the South Campus heating facility with a recognizable landmark tower. Built in 1931, it provides steam heat for all of South Campus' principal buildings. In the Fall 2004 the four tremendous boilers were removed from the building. Those boilers once generated 60,000 pounds of steam per hour and transmitted the heat through one and half miles of tunnels beneath the campus. Today there are stationary engineers that use the building management system to allow remote monitoring of the campus HVAC systems.


Gerald F. MacKay (1906-1965) was the Director of the Physical Plant at the University for almost 20 years. He joined the University staff in 1947 after many years as an industrial power plant engineer. Originally supervisor of the campus Power Plant, he was named director of the entire physical plant in 1951. At his death in July 1965, he was President of the Eastern region of the National Association of Physical Plant Administers of Colleges and Universities.

History and Chronology

  • 1931 -- Construction of building started
  • 1931 -- (November 17) Cornerstone ceremony.
  • 1966 -- (August 30) Naming ceremony for the Gerald F. MacKay Power Plant
  • 1973 -- MacKay was renovated
  • 2004 -- (October) another renovation was completed at a cost of around $11,000,000

Building and Construction Information

Architects: Edward B. Green & Son
Contractors for restorations: Nicolson & Hall Corp. (1973), SUCF, Fontanese, et al (2004)
Size: 16,181 sq. ft.