PULLMAN, Wash. – Summer construction season at Washington State University will see renovation of two historic residence halls dating from the 1920s. Preliminary work has begun on Duncan Dunn and Community halls, which are centrally located on what students call “the Hill.”
 
Louise Sweeney, project manager from Capital Planning and Development, said the central location of the halls makes them popular with students and worth saving.
 
“They’ve lived a long life and we want to maintain them – but also bring them back to life and have something to look forward to for the next 100 years,” she said.
 
Construction crews have fenced the site for security and are demolishing walls and removing windows from Duncan Dunn.
 
BNBuilders Construction Superintendent Chad Parkhurst said renovating and adding onto historic buildings can be a challenge, but he expects the WSU community will be pleased with the results.
 
“It has a lot of historical value but it’s not going to look brand new. The brick will still have the old worn brick look to it. But we will clean it, renovate it and bring it back up to the suitable level,” said Parkhurst
 
A dramatic change will be enclosure of the alley between Duncan Dunn and Community by two additions, which essentially will create one building. An elevator, laundry rooms and common areas will be added, including an enclosed outdoor courtyard for a meeting and recreation area.
 
Even with the changes, Sweeney said great care has been taken to ensure the history of the buildings is respected.
 
“We’re just really trying to be sensitive to the feel of the space so that we don’t come in and wipe everything out,” she said. She wants former students, employees and others to be able to return and say, “Oh yes, I remember Community and I remember Duncan Dunn.”
 
Sweeney said construction should be wrapped up by July 2012. Furnishings and other equipment will be installed in anticipation of an August 2012 re-opening. The building will house 250 students.
 
For more about the renovation project, visit the Capital Planning project.