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Power Plant

In 1913, Northern Arizona Normal School constructed a sandstone power plant behind Taylor Hall. Steam pipes and electric wires ran underground to provide heat and electricty to each campus building while a pair of forty foot high smoke stacks ejected smoke into the air.

Initially wood planks and sawdust hauled on rails from local sawmills heated the plant's boilers. Renovations in 1931 equipped the plant for coal- fired heating while converting the insitution’s electrical grid from direct to alternating current. That year approximately 2,200 tons of coal fueled the plant.

In 1949 rising coal prices, deferred maintenance, cramped space, worn generators, and heat loss compelled an expanding Arizona State College to build a new plant powered by fuel oil. This structure heated most of north campus while Arizona Power Company provided inexpensive electricity. Two years later the College demolished the original plant. Converting to natural gas in the 1960s, the new plant still serves north campus. The original site is now a parking lot.

  • Educational Infrastructure: North Plant Boiler Tour, Green NAU (video) video