Published: May 6, 2011

MSC smokestack demolition to begin

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129, Karen Zelt Infrastructure Planning and Facilities office: (517) 432-3624

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Demolition of the old MSC smokestack on the Michigan State University campus is scheduled to begin May 9, with completion scheduled for mid-August.

The smokestack, part of the long-closed Shaw Lane Power Plant, is located at Red Cedar and Shaw Lane. The power plant was built in 1948 but has not been in use since 1975.

A recent inspection indicated that the smokestack was deteriorating and would either need to be repaired or removed to avoid safety concerns. Earlier this year, the MSU community was invited to comment on the future of the stack, which has the letters “MSC” – Michigan State College – on two sides. Of the more than 1,300 people who commented, a majority supported demolition of the stack, while saving the white bricks that spell out MSC to commemorate the stack in some way.

While it is not yet clear how best to commemorate the smokestack, the university will salvage as many of the white bricks as possible and store them until an appropriate opportunity presents itself.

Inspections found that within the top 35 feet of the stack all of the mortar joints had deteriorated. Nearly half of the mortar joints in the top 70 feet were deteriorated. A wire cage is helping keep the loose bricks at the top in place. In addition, fencing has been placed 150 feet out around the smokestack as a safety precaution.
The parking lot west of the old Shaw Lane Power Plant will close May 9 until mid-August due to the demolition work.

In addition, drivers should note that the road on which the smokestack is located – Red Cedar Road – will be closed from near Spartan Stadium to Shaw Lane from May 9 to June 6. This is due to the ongoing Wells Hall construction project.
Demolition work will pause from June 22 to 28 to accommodate the June 26 concert by the band U2 at Spartan Stadium.

For information on the MSC smokestack, visit

For information on MSU road closures, visit


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