Mackay Hall was completed in 1893 after 7 years of construction The original use of the building was that of a academic hall, which the college desperately needed do to the increase of the student body as a result of the Park Family Program. Set in place by President John McAfee, the program allowed students to pay for part of their tuition with manual or domestic labor. Mackay Hall has since become the symbol of Park University, appearing on the seal and much of its iconography.
Backstory and Context
The architect responsible for the design of Mackay Hall was James Hogg, originally from Wisconsin. His design called for a large brick building, with two wings. The low quality of brick caused the switch to local stone, which was quarried and transported by the students from nearby the campus, the stone was then placed by skilled stone masons.
Work stopped in 1889 with the death of Duncan Mackay, and the withdrawal of support by his heirs, at this point close to $10,000 of the original promise remained to be forwarded. Work did not resume until a year later when a donation from a New York City Businessman, T.G. Sellew, allowed for continued construction.
Half way through 1891 the roof was finally completed, it was built mainly by the students workers due to the lack of funds, they were assisted by one hired craftsman who acted in a supervisory role. Much of 1892 was spent finishing the inside of the building, and it wasn't until March 13, 1893 that furniture was finally able to be moved in, but due to lack of funds it had to be taken from other buildings around campus. Further complications would come in the form of the heating system which would not be completed until 1897, this resulted in the east side of the building being unusable during cold weather. Mackay College Building was dedicated on May 12, 1893 during the Founders Day celebration, it has since housed classrooms, laboratories, and administrative offices including the president's office. The Park Literary Societies each had their own room on the third floor until the disbanding of the clubs due to scandalous behavior by the students, this would later be reversed with the implementation of new rules. Mackay Hall remains as a class and administrative building, and a prominent landmark to the surrounding area, though it no longer houses science classrooms or club rooms it is still the center of Park University.
Beck, Bill. Fides et labor: 140 years of pioneering education: the story of Park University. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 2015.