Northwestern College to break ground for new women's residence hall

Architect's rendering of new residence hallNorthwestern College will break ground for a new residence hall during a noon ceremony Friday, April 21. Members of the public are invited to join dignitaries, students, faculty and staff for a brief program at the future site of the dorm, which will be located northwest of the DeWitt Learning Commons.

The three-story building will house 157 women in suite-style rooms and is expected to be ready for occupancy by August 2024. The estimated cost for the 45,000-square-foot facility is $14 million, with final fundraising nearing completion.

Each floor of the new dorm will consist of two wings, with a large gathering area where the two wings come together. The first-floor common space will feature a 24-hour mini-market in addition to meeting spaces, a kitchenette and study nooks. The second floor will have a full-size kitchen with an island, along with two large lounge areas, while the third floor’s common area will be large enough for all of the dorm’s residents to gather in one place. It will also include study nooks and a TV lounge.

The end of each wing will offer study rooms and a small reading area bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows. Each floor will also have a laundry room and printers.

Julie Elliott, vice president for student life, praises the design for offering students “the best of both worlds”—the privacy of their own bathrooms in each suite, and the community that will be fostered in large, bright lounges that will anchor the center of the building on each floor.

“Students will find that every public space is designed to create opportunities to connect with others on their wing, on their floor, and in the hall,” she says. “In a time when Gen Z students in the U.S. report unprecedented levels of loneliness and social isolation, the friendships that develop in a space like this one are more important than ever.”

Tamara Fynaardt, vice president for enrollment and marketing, believes the new facility will make a positive impact on enrollment. “Visitors to campus are nearly always impressed by how attractive our campus facilities are—and how many of them are new or newly remodeled,” she says. “We’re eager to offer women looking at Northwestern just one more reason to choose to be a Raider: the chance to live in a brand new space.”

Elliott will be part of the program for the groundbreaking ceremony, as will Northwestern President Greg Christy, Vice President for Advancement Jay Wielenga, and Dean of Residence Life Marlon Haverdink. Tricia Vermeer, chair of the college’s board of trustees, will announce the name of the new residence hall prior to participating in the ceremonial shovel turning with Christy, Elliott and Haverdink.

Also participating in the ceremonial groundbreaking will be representatives from the architect, BVH Architecture; the general contractor, Hoogendoorn Construction; and the construction project manager, Rainwood Development Partners.