Creating an Interconnected Science Complex

W.M. Keck Science Center

Linfield University

Located in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country, Linfield University’s W.M. Keck Science Center is designed for interdisciplinary, research-based STEM studies. New laboratories, classrooms, offices, dynamic indoor/outdoor learning spaces, and prominent placement on campus connect the sciences to each other and the entire campus community while promoting growth and discovery in biology, chemistry, and physics.


84,400 sf


McMinnville, OR

Year Complete


  • Contractor

    Walsh Construction

  • Structural Engineer


  • Civil Engineer


  • Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineer

    PAE Engineers

  • Landscape Architect

    Lango Hansen

  • Lab Planner

    Research Facilities Design

  • Acoustical Engineer

    Acoustics by Design

  • AV Engineer

    Acoustics by Design

  • Cost Estimator

    Rider Levett Bucknall

  • Photographer

    Ben Benschneider

This new center will have a transformational impact on this college, and the W. M. Keck Foundation is pleased to be part of it. From the increased dedicated space for faculty‑student collaborative research, to the enhanced interdisciplinary teaching and learning opportunities the project will provide, we know amazing work and learning will take place. Lucinda Day Fournier, Linfield Trustee, Vice President, and a Director of the W.M. Keck Foundation

Faculty and Student Research on a Growing Campus

Connecting Graf Hall, Keck Hall, and Murdock Hall facilitates interdisciplinary research and discovery at the Science Center. To encourage collaboration between the sciences, departments are arranged in “neighborhoods” adjacent to wayfinding paths and grouped near shared research hubs. Upper division labs connect to research facilities and encourage joint use of learning spaces. The heart of the Science Center is the central, grouped learning spaces adjacent to faculty offices. Students can choose to utilize both lively and quiet study zones with access to labs, professors, and peers.

Collaboration, Performance, and Efficiency

The new W.M Keck addition is physically linked to the adjacent Graf Hall and Murdock Hall which were refreshed to create a holistic science complex. Graf Hall was renovated by adding 11,000 sf, performing seismic upgrades, and holistically refreshing the building; additionally, Murdock Hall received two new labs, a new classroom, new lobby furniture, and a completely cleaned and re-tuckpointed exterior. Refreshing and integrating existing spaces reduced project costs and environmental impacts, while honoring existing spaces and University history by updating and preserving them for the next generation.

Renovation and reuse projects typically save between 50-75% of the embodied carbon emissions compared to new construction. This is especially true if foundations and structures are preserved, which was the case for this project.


Energy savings of more than 25-30% are anticipated when comparing this project’s performance to a conventional building. Tall windows into lab spaces, LED dimmable lights, building orientation, continuous insulation, argon filled windows, and a tight building envelope all contribute to energy savings.

Flexibility and Campus Connection

The Evenstad Wine Classroom is part of a network of three classrooms separated by operable walls. The walls can stay down to make three separate rooms, or the walls can retract, providing a light-filled event space connected to the lobby and outdoors. With the Evenstad Wine Laboratory just across the lobby, this event space is a fabulous venue for students to showcase the results of fermentation studies, as well as fundraising events, community celebrations, and other academic gatherings.

Harmonizing the visual context of the campus, the contemporary expression of red brick and white window frames respects both the traditional aesthetic of the majority of the University’s historic buildings and the modernist sensibility of the adjacent connecting buildings constructed in the 1960’s and 80’s.  The east-facing entry plaza features specialty paving, fixed seating, and a covered terrace, and its location along a primary walking path near the university quad, cafeteria, and coffee shop reinforces the connection to campus.