Historical photos courtesy of WSU Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections

Color photos by Robert Hubner, WSU Photo Services


PULLMAN, Wash. — A five-month demolition derby at Washington State University’s historic Community and Duncan Dunn residence halls is nearly over.

The buildings — constructed in 1920 and 1926, respectively, and located on the north edge of campus — are congested with construction workers racing to gut and renovate the buildings and to meet a June 29, 2012 deadline.
The site is cluttered with fences, forklifts and truckloads of building supplies and demolition debris. Over the past several months, workers have ripped out walls, windows, flooring, electrical wiring and roofing. They have stripped the structures down to the dirt, leaving little except the supporting pillars, base flooring and exterior brick shells.
Now the reconstruction begins.
The project includes a full renovation of the exterior envelope, as well as modernization and upgrades to the interiors, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, technology systems and finishes. The new interior will include lounge space, community kitchens and laundry facilities on every floor.
The buildings will be joined by stairs, elevators and other shared spaces and will create opportunities for a central courtyard. The combined facility will provide approximately 250 beds for undergraduate students.
The refurbished dormitories will arrive none too soon, as WSU admitted its largest freshman class this fall and students are sharing tighter than usual quarters.
WSU’s long-term strategy is to embrace enrollment growth to help offset ongoing cuts in state funding — more than $231 million, or 52 percent, in the past four years, with another round pending.
The project will cost $21.6 million and will be paid for over the years through dorm fees via WSU Housing and Residential Life, http://housing.wsu.edu.
Project team:
  • Project Manager: Louise Sweeney, WSU Capital Planning and Development
  • Construction Engineeer: Brian Funke, WSU Capital Planning and Development
  • Architect: Mahlum Architects
  • Mechanical Engineering: PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc.
  • Electrical Engineering: PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc.
  • Structural Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen, Inc.
  • Landscape: Walker Macy
  • Contractor/GCCM: BNBuilders
  • Additional firm: Taylor Engineers
Community Hall history
Community Hall, built in 1920, was designed by architect Rudolph Weaver.
Located in the Duncan Dunn and Wilmer-Davis residential complex on the north edge of the campus, it originally was a residence hall for women.
Community Hall was constructed under the Self-Amortization Plan, first developed at WSU and later the adopted method for financing construction of university structures throughout the nation. The plan was the brainchild of Regent McCroskey, Bursar Kruegal and President Holland. The original group of 25 stockholders consisted of university and business people from Pullman who formed the Community Building Corporation. Each stockholder held two shares of $100 each.
The corporation sold bonds for the construction of Community Hall. The bonds were self-retiring from dorm rental and dining hall income. This spirit of “town and gown” cooperation was further demonstrated by the construction of Stimson Hall, Commons, Duncan Dunn and Waller under the same funding plan.
The main entrance of the four-story building faces south onto College Avenue. The building mass is symmetrically balanced around the central front portico, which is approached by a relatively long flight of stairs opening onto an entry terrace.
A cupola over the entrance accents the symmetry of the structure. Facade detailing in the classical mode with brick, wood and stone work set the precedent for the later structures in the residential complex: Duncan Dunn and Wilmer-Davis.
Duncan Dunn history
Duncan Dunn Hall was designed by Stanley Smith, a WSU architect, and was built in 1926.
Initially it was called New Dormitory. But, around 1935, it was named after Adam Duncan Dunn, the first alumnus to serve on the WSU Board of Regents. Originally, it was planned and used as a women’s residence, housing 140 students.
Like Community Hall, Duncan Dunn was constructed under the Self-Amortization Plan. The architectural facade detailing is in the traditional classical mode of the WSU historic core, incorporating brick and stone work with double-hung windows. The design complemented that of neighboring Community and Wilmer-Davis halls.
The main entrance faces north onto Linden Avenue. The entry portico is an elegant Georgian style addition that adds charm to the structure. The southern facade includes a solarium and a large terrace for social gatherings at the second level.