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Power Plant (RG 150)

This photograph displays the smoke stack that is a part of Springfield College's Power Plant.

Power Plant

Beginning around 1911, a power plant was temporarily placed south of what is now called East Gymnasium on the Springfield College campus. The temporary power plant was used to heat the two gymnasiums of Judd Gymnasia and the administration building as well as furnish power for ventilating and electricity for all of the school buildings. The temporary plant cost about $10,000 to work. However the Power Plant Committee wanted to move it near the shore of the lake on the south end of campus, and connect it to the newly proposed library building. At a cost of about $40,0000, it was believed that this would supply the entire property with heating, ventilating, lighting, and water (both hot and cold for everything besides drinking water).

In April 1914, the Geo H. McClean Company, a group of heating and ventilating contractors, agreed to furnish and deliver services for a complete system of steam piping. During the summer months of 1914 the temporary power plant near the gymnasium was taken apart and equipment was moved to the shore. The new power plant was finished by September of 1914. Only one boiler had been necessary at the time, with most exhaust steam had been used for heating purposes, allowing electricity to be produced at a very low cost during the winter season.

Of historical interest, is the severe coal shortage during 1918 due to World War I. The Fuel Administration asked every New England Consumer to fill out a questionnaire about their coal usage. International Y.M.C.A. College power plant did not show any losses from the use of the power plant, and was therefore allowed to continue to use coal during the shortage.

Today, the Power Plant is still located behind Alumni Hall on the shore of the lake and is still working to provide heat to the campus of Springfield College.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection documents the construction and maintenance of the Springfield College Power Plant. The collection includes a proposal to build the power plant that includes expected costs, some early reports on the running of the power plant between 1916-1918, inspection and maintenance records and correspondence, and some photographs of the exterior of the building. Of particular interest is some correspondence with the United States Fuel Administration during World War I that talks about coal restrictions brought about by the war effort. Also included are some documents regarding employee relations, including a document outlining the “Massasoit Association No. 2 of the National Association of Springfield Engineers (N.A.S.E.). There are also meter readings from 1916 that speak to energy usage of the college at that time.