Don't call it a dormitory

Just-opened Trimble Hall integrates living and learning

By Greg Scheiderer

Students who moved into the University of Puget Sound’s brand new residence hall in late August will be without something that has been a boon—or a burden—for generations of college students: roommates.

C. Garnet Trimble Hall, the $12 million, 56,000 square foot building, located mid-campus near the intersections of several of Puget Sound’s busiest pedestrian walkways, has 184 bedrooms, all of them singles. The rooms are arranged in suites of between two and six, with each suite sharing a kitchenette, living space, and semiprivate bath.

Students will get their own space, but they will not be isolated.

“We were aiming for both the kind of privacy that suites of single rooms provide as well as giving attention to community space within the residence hall,” said Kristine Bartanen, Puget Sound’s vice president of student affairs and dean of students.

The community space exists on several scales, from small lounges serving groups of suites, to larger, centrally located gathering spots on each floor, to a classroom and “forum” space open to the public.

“It’s a building with a lot of flexibility,” said Bartanen. “It will allow students some privacy, but also act as a bridge between the residential and the academic.”

The forum room is the centerpiece of Trimble Hall. It comes complete with attached kitchen facilities and can seat around 80 for dinners, or 150 for lectures and presentations.

Two other features will help support that bridge between residential and academic programs: one Puget Sound faculty member will live in an apartment built in Trimble Hall, and another private suite is available for use by guest lecturers and visiting scholars. Designers believe the gathering spaces and community presence will help to facilitate and strengthen the conversations that are central to Puget Sound’s liberal arts education.

Puget Sound didn’t invent this wheel, but Jim Hoppe, associate dean for student development and director of Puget Sound’s residential programs, said the university built it better.

“This concept has been around for several years, but it’s still new enough that there is room for new thinking,” said Hoppe. “So we tweaked it; the thing you don’t see a lot is the combination of public campus space and residence space in the same building.”

Hoppe said early returns seem to indicate that Trimble Hall is providing incentive for upperclassmen to live on campus. About 15 students who lived off campus last year are returning to live in Trimble. But the biggest gains are among juniors, who typically seek more independent living off campus in their third year.

“We pulled just enough people from off campus, and kept enough people on, that I think we’re starting to change the culture,” Hoppe said. About 63 percent of students will live on campus this year, compared to about 50 percent last year. The university’s long-term goal is to have 75 percent of students living on campus.

Bartanen said Trimble is an important option among an array of housing choices available to Puget Sound students. The university owns about 60 houses on campus, many of which provide “theme” housing based on academic, co-curricular, or extracurricular interests. There are five sororities, four fraternities, and abundant off-campus housing. Trimble, the university’s 11th residence hall, expands the menu.

“We have housing to meet the varied needs of our students,” Bartanen said.

Robert A. Trimble ’37 donated $2 million to support the construction of Trimble Hall, named after Mr. Trimble’s father, who was the physician for Puget Sound’s athletic teams after World War II. The Zimmer-Gunsul-Frasca Partnership designed the building, and Walsh Construction Company is the prime contractor. Seneca Group provided project management.

A formal dedication ceremony for Trimble Hall will take place Sept. 27.

Other campus construction

Stadium improvements to be completed by spring

In July the university broke ground on improvements to Baker Stadium and Shotwell Track. With these improvements, the playing field area inside the track will be reconfigur-ed and named in honor of Joe Peyton ’67, a retired faculty member and one of the most respected figures in the history of Logger athletics.

Work underway includes:

Shotwell Track: The track will be widened from six lanes to eight, and resurfaced. Changes in the track’s size will allow several field event areas (pole vault, long and triple jumps, high jump, javelin, and steeple case) to be moved into the “D” area located between the ends of the track and the football end-zone areas. The shot put area will be adjacent to the track at the northwest corner, and the hammer and discuss areas will be renovated and located on lower Baker Field.

Peyton Field: The previously existing turf and topsoil were removed to allow construction of a new vertical draining, sand-based natural turf field. This is the most up-to-date technology for natural grass fields today, according to Puget Sound Athletic Director Richard Ulrich.

Baker Stadium: The newest improvements to the facility will include construction of restrooms, concession, and ticket booth facilities, near where the old turn-style entrance previously existed. The new entry way will be covered and allow for better security in the stadium and playing field.

With construction occurring during the fall season, home football games will be played at Curtis High School this year and the soccer teams will use East Athletic field. Completion is anticipated by the end of October, which will allow spring track and field to use the new facilities next year.

The project is made possible by the generosity of a family long associated with Puget Sound. In addition, a number of people have given gifts for construction of a high jump area in Peyton Field.