Linfield University to expand research with new science center

Construction is currently underway for Linfield University’s W.M. Keck Science Center in McMinnville, Oregon. Photo courtesy SRG Partnership

Construction is currently underway for Linfield University’s W.M. Keck Science Center in McMinnville, Oregon.    

Designed by SRG Partnership with contractor Walsh Construction, the research-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) complex will provide new teaching and laboratory space for the university’s biology, chemistry, and physics departments. It will also feature a lobby, new classrooms, faculty offices, and a large multi-purpose room which will also serve as a fermentation laboratory. 

The complex will be comprised of the new 3159 m2 (34,000 sf) W.M. Keck Science Center addition, substantial renovations to the existing Graf Hall, and a partial renovation of Murdock Hall. The modern brick and white metal window frames of the addition will pay homage to the existing modernist material context with dark metal accents.  

Linked to the north end of Graf Hall, the science center will include a double-height, east-facing front porch with large glass windows to create a transparent and daylit lobby for students. An outdoor terrace directly north of the fermentation laboratory in Graf Hall will function as an outdoor classroom space with the ability to serve as an organized event venue. 

The design of the STEM complex is aimed at encouraging collaboration between academic disciplines. Some key planning principles to activate spaces for greater collaboration include:  

  • Locating faculty-student research in the heart of the building;
  • Grouping faculty offices together to promote interdisciplinary science and locating the offices near research with access to the rest of the buildings;
  • Complimenting the heart of the building with grouped student learning space;
  • Facilitating movement and connection via central vertical circulation areas;
  • Creating neighborhoods for departments adjacent to central linear science paths;
  • Connecting upper division labs to research to encourage joint use of the space; and,
  • Anchoring student interaction nodes to create beacons for students not only at the primary entries, but also throughout the entire complex.

When it opens, the W.M. Keck Science Center will have increased laboratory capacity by over 100 lab seats to ensure Linfield University has the facilities necessary to equip STEM students for success.  

The project is scheduled for completion by December of this year. 

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