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College to construct new residence halls

February 12, 2001

College is a home away from home, a place to make discoveries and to nurture lifelong friendships. It is much more than mere bricks and mortar, yet buildings create a place where the spirit of community can grow.

In May, the College will break ground on three apartment-style residence halls.

The construction project marks the first phase of the College’s long-term plans to create an academic village at Lewis & Clark.

“Our student body is made up primarily of young people who are experiencing the formative transition between late adolescence and early adulthood,” says Jane Atkinson, vice president and provost of the College. “We believe that students this age, who are pursuing the kind of education we offer, thrive best through total immersion in the collegiate experience.

“We want students fully engaged in campus life, not treating education as a part-time job to be left at the end of the day,” she says. Currently, first- and second-year students are required to live on campus. This means juniors and seniors can only occupy 125 of the existing 1,000 beds.

“We believe more students will choose to reside on campus once we provide the type of living arrangements older students now leave campus to acquire,” Atkinson says.

The three new “houses,” designed to meet the needs of juniors and seniors, will open in the fall of 2002. After crews deconstruct and demolish the quaint, brown “home offices” on the hillside along Huddleson Road, the new residence halls will claim that site.

Each building will house about 56 students in apartment-style living environments. Each self-contained unit will have four (or two) single-occupancy sleeping rooms with unit residents sharing a living area, kitchen and bathroom.

“I’m a resident assistant with my own room in Stewart Residence Hall,” says Elizabeth Larter, a sophomore who serves on the residence hall planning committee. “I want to live with friends during my senior year and to still maintain some personal space. The new halls will provide a mature living environment. They also will promote community, will build school spirit and will give first- and second-year students who live on campus a chance to know juniors and seniors and to learn from them.”

Erin Nelson, a sophomore who is majoring in psychology, appreciates the care that went into designing the new residence halls.

“Having one kitchen for two or four people will be a big plus in the new halls, especially for students with special dietary needs,” says Nelson, who serves as a peer wellness educator. “And residential directors will be able to arrange potluck dinners for one floor or hall.”

The architectural centerpiece of each house will be a two-story lounge, evoking the character of a small lodge, featuring a fireplace and exposed truss work at the ceiling. The lounge and balcony will accommodate all residents for house meetings and yet provide a cozy space to study or to watch television. Large windows will flood the area with natural light.

Exterior brick and masonry work will mirror the warm, textured qualities of Frank Manor House.

One of the houses will include a convenience store and a café, and the other will feature a student recreation area and a computer/copy center. The café and recreation center will share an outdoor plaza with dynamic space for students to gather.

“I know many sophomores who plan to live on campus this fall, so that they will have the option of living in the new houses in 2002,” says Cameron Parker, a senior biology major who serves on the planning committee. “Having a coffeehouse and convenience store on this side of campus, where students can buy milk or laundry detergent, will make life easier. And they will be able to mingle and interact in a central part of the residential campus.”

From conception through design, the project has been a collaboration, says Jon Eldridge, dean of students.

A trustee task force, chaired by John Kemp and including Fred Jubitz, Michael Kasperzak, Jr., ’76, Joan Smith and Judge Ralph Holman J.D. ’37, met regularly with College administrators and students.

“Because of the collaboration of faculty, students, staff and trustees, the College will have buildings that people appreciate—buildings they helped conceive and create,” Eldridge says.

Larter agrees. “Being on the planning committee was a positive experience for me,” she says. “I feel connected to what’s happening on campus and have confidence in the decisions that were made. I’m excited about moving into the new residence halls.”

Parker gave the planning process a thumbs-up, as well.

“The process definitely incorpora-ted students’ ideas,” she says. “And the College was very forthcoming in letting students know about the planning progress.”

When complete, the three new halls will house about 170 more students on campus.

“Everything is a little easier when you live on campus,” says sophomore Dan Knox, who is majoring in mathematics with an emphasis in pre-medicine. “The social atmosphere can’t be beat. The location also makes it more convenient to attend meetings and to use the library.”

SERA Architects is designing the three new residence halls, budgeted at $21 million. DPR Construction is the general contractor. Walker & Macy, an architectural landscape firm in Portland, is crafting a landscape design that marries the buildings’ architecture with the environment.

—by Pattie Pace

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