The Oregon State University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps is scheduled to move this summer from the Naval ROTC Armory, located in the Quonset huts along SW Washington Way, to a renovated space in the west side of Cascade Hall. The Naval ROTC Armory will be removed as part of the Washington Way Improvement Project, which is currently in the permitting phase.

A planned commemoration ceremony for the Naval ROTC Armory has been cancelled in order to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19. An online exhibit is being created to commemorate the building and will provide alumni and community members with an enduring look at images of the Naval ROTC Armory and the shared memories of those whose OSU experience was impacted by the building.

“For more than 68 years, OSU NROTC’s ‘Beaver Battalion’ has commissioned the finest naval officers in the nation out of our Quonset huts. We are excited to continue that tradition at Cascade Hall, living up to our title of ‘Best in the West’,” said Midshipman 1/C Christopher Hoskins, U.S. Naval Reserve. Hoskins is a senior at OSU.

Quonset huts have a rich history at OSU, having been used as buildings to house and educate an influx of students following World War II. Designed to be lightweight and portable, Quonset huts were only meant to be used temporarily as new buildings were being constructed.

OSU NROTC, part of the Department of Naval Science, was commissioned on September 17, 1945, and initially occupied Quonset huts next to Moreland Hall, in the space now occupied by the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws. In 1951, OSU NROTC was moved to the current Quonset huts. The Quonset huts were previously used as dining facilities and located just east of SW 30th Street. In 1959, the structures were moved to their current location along SW Washington Way. 

Today OSU NROTC unit has nearly 100 students enrolled in the program, with roughly 60% as Navy options and 40% as Marine Corps options. More than a quarter of those enrolled are women and the majority of students have been awarded scholarships.

The Washington Way Improvement Project will provide a safer and better-connected Washington Way corridor. The road will be relocated 10 feet to the north of the railroad tracks, and separate cycle track facilities and a pedestrian sidewalk will provide ways for students, staff and visitors to use active modes of transportation.

For NROTC, the updated Cascade Hall first floor will provide a modernized area for a lecture hall, assembly room, office and classroom spaces, armory and storage space for training equipment.

~ Erin Martin. Photos by Abbie Leland