Photos by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services
PULLMAN –  The Olympia Avenue student housing project — WSU’s first additiion to its student housing system in 37 years — is coming down the home stretch.
Work on the $26,000,000 project, located south of the Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy colleges, was begun in May 2008 and is slated to be ready for occupancy in August. When complete, it will house 230 students.
The project will set a new standard of quality for residential life, reflecting the university’s desire to pursue sustainability while enhancing the student experience. Capital Planning and Development anticipates that the building will achieve a LEED™ Silver rating.
Several innovative “green” strategies have been incorporated including:
* geothermal heating and cooling
* natural day lighting
* sun shading devices to minimize heat load
* site restoration with natural habitat and vegetation
* water efficient landscaping
* stormwater collection and reuse for irrigation
* high reflective roof to reduce heat island effect
* reduction of light pollution
* educational signage system
* water-use reduction in the building
* construction waste management
* use of regional materials
* recycled materials and certified wood where possible
The ground floor contains a central two-story lounge with a gas fireplace, the main entrance, classroom, meeting room and media center and other public functions designed to encourage student interaction. These spaces open to a large outdoor plaza on the west side and gardens to the east that showcase native Palouse vegetation.
Every floor is equipped with a central “active” lounge focused on the main plaza below, as well as a “passive” study lounge facing exterior views of the surrounding area.
Students recommended a variety of room plan designs, including four-person suites, two doubles sharing a bath/shower room, two singles sharing a bath/shower room, doubles and singles with their own bath/shower rooms, and doubles and singles that use a common bath/shower room.
Each floor will have a lounge/study/kitchen/laundry area that is a common place to gather; students said informal interaction strongly correlates with their satisfaction with living in a residence hall.
Louise Sweeney, Capital Planning and Development, is the WSU project manager.