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The original Normal school heating plant was a tin-clad building completed in 1908. Inside was a coal-fire furnace. Coal was hauled up the hill from the Northern Pacific railroad by a team of horses pulling a wagon, and later by truck. The coal ash was removed the same way. Many young men worked their way through school helping move coal or ashes. In 1917, a larger one-story building was constructed around that original building.


  • The Normal school heating plant with it's bell tower and chimney.
  • The Normal school heating plant with it's bell tower and chimney.

The original Normal school heating plant was a tin-clad building completed in 1908.

Inside it had a coal-fire furnace. Coal was hauled up the hill from the Northern Pacific railroad by a team of horses pulling a wagon, and later by truck.  The coal ash was removed the same way.  Many young men worked their way through school helping move coal or ashes.

In 1917, a larger one-story building was built around that original building. It was a 50 foot by 80 foot rectangular building constructed of brown brick set on a concrete foundation. This  building, with some modifications is the one you see today. It has a flat roof and double-hung wood sash windows.  The exterior walls are decorated with concrete appliques and geometric brickwork, similar to nearby Monroe Hall.  The building has a plain wide metal cornice painted ivory.  Above this is a straight brick parapet with ivory colored metal coping.  The north side features the possibly original swinging bay entry doors with multi-paned windows.  The other roll-back bay door is more recent. 

In 1957, a new 41 foot by 57 foot addition was built onto the east side of the building.  This section is also one-story high and flat roofed with metal coping.  The brickwork is unadorned stretcher bond.  There is one bay entry and several metal sash windows.

The building stood out on the campus with its 104 foot concrete chimney and a bell tower that was an icon for Normal students for decades. The bell could be heard across the campus, and was used to rally students for games and campus events. The bell tower was removed in the 1960s, and the chimney was pulled down in 1973.

In 1967, the heating plant function moved to the Rozell Heating Plant off Washington Street. Since then the old building has been used for storage and other maintenance purposes. 

J. Orin Oliphant; History of the State Norma School; 1924. Cecil Dryden; Light for an Empire — The history of Eastern Washington State College; 1964. Historic Preservation Commission; Guide to the Eastern Washington University Campus Historic District; 2003.