Housing for Phins

Forrest Baum


Students pass the crane every day on the way to class: Construction on the new SCC residence hall is underway. The 85 parking spots previously next to the PUB, will be turned into a five-story building with three floors for 68 shared units, housing up to 216 students.

“The units are mainly four-bedroom units split into two bedrooms on each side, that share a bath, and with a shared common space,” said Andy Hoyer of Encore Architects, the company that designed the floor plan.

The Squeeze

The removal of parking has been a concern this semester, as students and staff driving to campus have dealt with fewer available spots.

“We wanted to put it close to transit,” said SCC President Cheryl Roberts. “They can get downtown, they can go grocery shopping, (and) they can use our shuttle system.”

Gabriel Grant of Spectrum Development Solutions says constructing a building with parking is “really expensive, (and) we’re seeing a pretty broad trend towards car-sharing. Individual car ownership is really expensive.”

The Plans

Edmonds Community College and Green River Community College have built residence halls also designed by Encore Architects, and Whatcom Community College is also considering construction of a residence hall.

Housing will move SCC away from the traditional “commuter campus” approach. “We’ve been looking at housing on and off campus for about 10 years,” said Stuart Trippel, SCC’s Executive Director and CFO.

Trippel says on-campus housing is highly desirable to prospective students, and SCC has looked into how to do it right for a while, with serious planning underway since 2012. Plans have changed after members of the community questioned an original, taller concept to the north of campus. “We wanted it to be small. It’s our first foray, our first toe into housing,” Roberts said.

SCC administrators say they hope to move students in by fall 2019.

The Reality

What will it be like to live on campus? Imagine waking up to realize you’ve slept through your alarm. For those who will move into the new SCC student resident hall, class will be just a few steps away. No need to worry about catching a bus, fighting traffic or rushing to find parking.

Just like SCC, the new residence hall will be for students of all ages. There will be a large shared space that can be used for both private and campus-wide events, study rooms and an enclosed outdoor courtyard.

In addition, SCC’s Serenity Room will finally have a permanent home in the new residence hall. “It’s mainly for prayers,” Hoyer said. “People can reserve it if they need a quiet moment. It will be looking over the courtyard and will be available to the general student population during daytime hours.”

The Future

“We’re looking to achieve a LEED Silver Certification with the project,” said Jhomar Small of Spectrum. This will include solar panels on the roof, low-energy appliances and environmentally-friendly building materials. LEED is a level of green certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“There are energy codes (that) are super technical (and are) really important because they result in less loss of heat,” Grant said.

“It really hits a lot of our sensibilities around the ‘three E’s,’ ecological sustainability, social equity and economic viability,” Roberts said. “They’re going to be close to transit, close to the library … It’s really the heartbeat of the campus, close to all of the services they’re going to need.”

“We’re going to have full Residential Life programming, which our students will be involved in planning,” Trippel said. In the coming year, students will have a chance to help decide more about how these programs will work.