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New year, new building: CWU opens Dugmore Hall residence hall

Students are settling into a new residence hall at Central Washington University as school starts Wednesday.

On Friday, roughly 2,000 students began moving into CWU residence halls, including the 402-bed, brand-new Dugmore Hall.

“Our building committee has been working on this for almost two years and working with great partners,” said Tricia Rabel, CWU’s executive director of housing and residence life. “Getting to see people start to move into the building has been delightful. Watching streams of students coming in smiling and looking up and seeing the mass of it — it’s a big building — but then coming in and seeing, this is my area.”

The four-story, 105,000-square-foot Dugmore Hall is host to 60 double rooms with restrooms, 144 double rooms with suite-style restrooms and single living quarters.

The $40 million project was approved by the board of trustees in 2017 in response to a growing enrollment of first-year students and a need for north-campus housing. Construction began in May 2018. The project was funded through a special bond sale, rather than state or tuition funds.

Rabel said much of the building design was created based on student feedback, including color-coded floors inspired by the natural themes of Kittitas Valley — highlights of red, yellow, green and blue on doors and ceilings to represent the earth, soil, trees and sky. Another student-inspired aspect is that doors can remain propped open unless a fire alarm sounds, for example.

Each floor of Dugmore features study rooms, laundry rooms and communal showers with bathtubs. Throughout the building, there are 22 gender inclusive and 10 male and female bathrooms.

The building also features lounges with coffee tables, couches, flat screen TVs and ceiling-to-floor windows that provide a view of campus and the Kittitas Valley hillsides on each floor. A first-floor kitchen and second-floor game room are available to all students.

The new residence hall was named for William Dugmore, a CWU Department of Psychology professor from 1969 to 2014, who also provided counseling to students at the campus counseling clinic. Dugmore left his entire estate of roughly $1.2 million to the university when he died in early 2018. It is the university’s largest gift in recent history and contributes to scholarship endowments for the departments of music and psychology, as well as funding for the counseling center.

Beside the new residence hall is the new Northside Commons, a 6,000 square-foot dining facility with a Panda Express voted in by students and the 1891 Café and Market.

Priority is given to first-year students in the new dorm. Freshmen are expected to occupy 320 spaces, while the remaining 80 spots are open to upperclassmen.

On the second floor of Dugmore on Friday, McCall deChenne and Maggie Gatlin, freshman students planning to study biology and special education, respectively, were unpacking boxes and getting to know each other better.

“It was a random match, but we bonded pretty well,” Gatlin said. “We knew that we were going to be roommates, so we contacted each other (over the summer) and we’ve been talking up to this point.”

The two said they were excited to be living on campus, and were surprised by how big their room was and how easy the building layout had been to navigate. In the days leading up to class, they planned to do as many campus activities as they could to get to know campus and other students, including flag football and “big volleyball,” or volleyball with a beach ball.

Down the hallway, freshman Josh Rodgers from Olympia also was moving in. He said he was most looking forward to figuring out how to live on his own, and intended to hit the ground running the first few days on campus.

“I’m going to try to spend the least amount of time in my dorm so I’m out meeting new people and then probably walking around trying to find each location of my classes so I’m not the freshman asking everyone where everything’s at,” he said. ”I’m excited. I’m happy to be here. I’m really excited to meet a bunch of new people and new friends.”

Arthur Mosiman, the residence hall association president, moved from Kamola, the school’s oldest residence hall, to Dugmore Hall this year. On Friday, he was giving students directions and helping orchestrate move-in day at the new hall.

Mosiman said the modern bathrooms and showers in the new building were a highlight of the new space, as well as the color-coding of each floor. But he said he looked forward to continuing to shape Dugmore for future students, as well.

“Throughout Kamola Hall, we had pictures of what it looked like in the 1800s … and the early 1900s, and so we don’t have that legacy here, but that’s something we’re creating right now,” Mosiman said. “I’m super excited about actually being the first (students to be) building a legacy of what happens at Dugmore. We’re shaping the future right now.”

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