Jump the navigation

New Place to Call Home: Investing in a Major Addition to Campus

By Sydney London ’23

3-D Model renderings of the new buildings involving the Jr./Sr. Housing Project.

Site work is officially underway on a new residential village that will change the way students live and learn at Whitman College. A couple of short blocks from Walla Walla’s downtown, the village that will house more than 200 students will be one of the college’s most ambitious building projects ever.

Set to open in August 2025, the new apartment-style living community—including three new residence halls—is designed specifically for juniors and seniors to have a place to live and thrive on campus.

The new village is transformative for our students and for our campus community. It will deepen the connections among juniors and seniors, and enable them to stay engaged on campus, providing new opportunities for leadership and mentorship as well.  —Sarah R. Bolton, President

The Whitman College Board of Trustees approved the plan to move forward on March 1. Preparations are being made for an official groundbreaking ceremony that will take place in May.

The Vision for the Village

Announced in the fall of 2023, this project to enhance residence life is a key priority of Upward Together: The Campaign For Whitman College, specifically to create a more vibrant campus community for all. 

Map showcasing the walk ways and locations of the new buildings involving the Jr./Sr. Housing Project“It’s thrilling to see the plans for the new junior-senior village become reality,” says Nancy Serrurier, Chair of Upward Together. “Groundbreaking means that more than 200 students will soon be back living on campus in apartments with ample opportunities for socializing and community-building.”

These new residence halls will be in a parklike setting along College Creek with recreation and gathering areas for students to enjoy. Two of the three halls have already been named after notable Whitman alumni and leaders: the first, Harvey Hall, after longtime Chief Financial Officer Peter Havey ’84 and the second, Robart Hall, after Judge James Robart ’69. As building continues, donors will have the chance to be part of additional naming opportunities for student and community spaces.

Preserving & Progressing

While this west end of campus will dramatically evolve over the coming months, some cherished staples will remain.

Perhaps most notably, the beloved state champion weeping cherry tree will be preserved in its location, as well as other mature trees with healthy root systems. An arborist will monitor the cherry tree during construction and will work to remove invasive tree species from the site. More than 100 new deciduous and conifer trees will be planted—further enhancing Whitman’s Tree Campus USA status.

A revived College Creek is a central feature of the village. Factors in rehabilitating this local ecosystem include considering stream flows, ecology and species habitats, while keeping shrubs, perennials, and mixed grasses that are native to the area along its banks. 

On the construction side, builders will use green building practices—working toward LEED certification—to improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier spaces. For example, the halls will have natural light, LED bulbs, electric vehicle charging stations and low-flow water fixtures.

A Place to Gather

The junior-senior village will not only serve as a space for community-building amongst its residents but also bring together students across all class years at Whitman—with its close proximity to campus events and shared spaces for recreational activities. 

For a current first-year Whitman student from San Francisco, the village will create something that’s greatly needed. “I'm beyond excited for this new space to foster community,” says Sebastian Vera Cuevas, who could be one of the village's residents in 2025. “It will bridge the gap we see too often between juniors and seniors from the rest of the student body.”

Gifts from alumni, families and friends of Whitman are the reason the college can realize historic projects that will foster distinctive experiences for students. Through Upward Together, we’re building a vibrant campus community—coming together to make a significant investment in residential life, community-building, wellness and athletics to ensure that students connect and flourish.

Check out an animated rendering of the junior-senior village. 

We’ll Get There Together 

Learn more about Upward Together—a collective effort to elevate and enhance a Whitman College education for generations of students—tomorrow's thinkers, leaders and changemakers. 

Published on Mar 6, 2024
beaker duck hiker icon-a-to-z icon-arrow-circle-down icon-arrow-circle-up icon-arrow-down icon-arrow-left icon-arrow-right icon-arrow-up icon-calendar-no-circle icon-calendar icon-camera icon-clock icon-cv icon-dot icon-down-triangle icon-email-circle icon-email icon-external-link icon-facebook icon-flickr icon-generic-blog icon-google-plus icon-home icon-instagram icon-library icon-link-circle icon-link-inverted icon-linkedin icon-lock icon-magazine icon-map-pin icon-map2 icon-menu-hamburger icon-menu-mobile-a icon-menu-mobile-b icon-menu-x icon-mywhitman-cog icon-news icon-phone icon-pinterest icon-play icon-quote icon-search-a icon-search-b icon-search-mobile-a icon-search-mobile-b icon-share icon-snail-mail icon-tumblr icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube logo-whitman-nc-flat logo-whitman-nc-stacked logo-whitman-no-clocktower slider-category-arrow-2px slider-category-arrow-no-line slider-category-arrow-solid slider-category-arrow slider-category-line-2px slider-category-line-solid slider-category-line tc_icon-filmstrip-fl tc_icon-filmstrip-ln tc_icon-play-fl-closed tc_icon-play-fl-open tc_icon-play-ln-closed tc_icon-play-ln-open wifi