What is the Observatory used for: Since the start of March 2011 the observatory is used as a gathering place for those musically inclined students to compose songs, play music, and just meet other musical artists.
What did the Observatory use to be: The Observatory was originally built in 1893 and it's primary function was that of a observatory. When the observatory became unusable it was made into a convenience store for students in 2001. The convenience store however, closed down in 2009 due to poor revenue.
Did the observatory ever have a telescope: The observatory originally did have a telescope in it but it was taken down when the observatory stopped being used. The telescope was a gift from the A.W. Kinney Estate and was worth $10,000 in 1964. A.W Kinney served as a member of the College's board of Trustees during 1874 -1879.
Why did it become a music building: It turned out that there were many proposals for what the observatory should be. Many students just wanted to have the convenience store back, others wanted it to become a sustainability center, but all of those proposals fell through. The music department however had been looking for a space that non music major students could practice music freely and was granted permission to change the Observatory into a music building.
Interesting Facts: The observatory didn't always used to be where it is now. Originally the observatory was located near Pioneer Hall. However, as the campus became larger the Observatory was in danger of being demolished. It was decided that it would be moved to it's current location in 1964. The Observatory is now one of McMinnville's preserved historical landmarks that is protected by the City of McMinnville from demolition. There are plans for a new observatory to be built but it is unknown when.