New WWU Residence Hall to Bring Studios, Suites and ADA Accessibility

As summer weather continues, crews have remained hard at work constructing the new residence hall on Western Washington University’s campus. Dubbed “PW746” until administration finalizes a name, this living community will offer increased accessibility and modern amenities upon its completion in fall 2021. 

The site for the new hall is situated where the old Highland Hall and Highland Lounge were located, on the north side of the ridge and behind Carver Gymnasium. The project will provide about 400 beds for Western students. The total budget for the project, including construction, is anticipated to be approximately $66.5 million. Funding comes from University Housing and Dining System funds, mostly from the issuance of revenue bonds. 

“Unlike many other residence halls on the campus, multiple room types are blended within the building. There are singles, doubles, triples, quad suites, and full apartments for the resident directors,” said Lisa Brennan of Western’s Facilities Development and Capital Budget office. 

Inside Western’s newest hall, residents will enjoy lounges, common kitchens and flexible spaces for study and collaboration. Some studio and suite units will feature kitchenettes. On-site laundry and storage will be available. In the interest of sustainability, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating is targeted and the project will reuse on-site materials where possible, including the re-purposing of the Highland Lounge roof beams as furniture in the new building. 

Another hallmark of the new residence hall is ease of access.  

“The new residence hall is designed with accessibility and inclusivity in mind, with a goal of making the space barrier-free and welcoming for everyone. It features a single pathway for everyone to travel through the hall, creating a shared journey for all users and making the Ridgeway community Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible for the first time,” Brennan said. 

A new ramp and a new elevator will be added to the existing Ridgeway Commons building to ensure accessibility to both the main hallway and food service on the second floor, according to Brennan. She also said two gender-neutral bathrooms are also being added to Ridgeway Commons, while the new residence hall will feature gender-neutral bathrooms throughout.  

Outside the new hall, recreational gathering spaces will allow all residents to enjoy the forested environment around the ridge. Site improvements include pedestrian pathways and upgraded lighting. Secure bicycle storage will also be available. 

For more information on the new residence hall, contact Lisa Brennan at or see the University Residences website on the new building at; this site features additional detailed content about the project as well as webcams of the construction itself.