Residence Hall Renovations Create Independent Living
Updates to Western Shore dorms will feature full kitchens, new living room furniture
Starting next fall, juniors and seniors at Washington College will have the opportunity
to live in apartments on campus with full kitchens, offering the kind of independent
living typically found off campus.
The College is renovating the 11 buildings known as the Western Shore Residence Halls over the summer, painting kitchen cabinets and installing new flooring, counters and appliances, including stoves, which the buildings did not previously feature. At the same time, the renovations will include new furniture for the living rooms—students helped determine the needed pieces and what colors would be preferred.
“This is a good way for us to be able to engage with students,” said Director of Residential Life Amy Sine. “They are more invested in the result.”
For the furniture choice, 140 students answered a survey and led to the plan to outfit each living room with a media center, coffee table, end table, couch and two chairs. A model living room will be set up in one of the residence halls and adjusted depending on how it all fits. The color scheme was also guided by students who stopped by an information table in Hodson Hall Commons and landed on a combination of blues and grays.
The images above are renderings of the planned renovations for Western Shore residence halls, a project that will replace living room furniture and kitchen appliances, counters, and flooring.The Western Shore renovations are just the latest in ongoing residence hall renovations around Washington’s campus. In the eight years since the 100-bed Corsica Hall opened, four dorms have been updated: Reid, Kent, Cullen, and first-year student dorm Minta Martin. All Washington College residence halls now have central air-conditioning.
Students not only provided input on the details of the Western Shore renovations, they prompted the shift to full kitchens and independent living, which Sine said her team noticed was a desire among students. Camiya Anderson '25 is a Residential Assistant for Western Shore this year and will be back in the role in ’23-’24. She provided feedback on the plans and said she expects students to be pleased.
“I’m really excited about the changes,” she said. "A lot of people are happy that Western Shore is getting a full kitchen. That renovation is going to be a big change. Not only does it offer them a place to cook, it will also help with bonding within the suites: You’re living with your friends. You hang out in the living room. You get to cook together.”
Sine noted that students living in the renovated Western Shore residence halls will still have meal plans but can select one of the smaller ones, and the kitchens will allow them to cook for themselves the rest of the time.
“This is a nice transition. You can opt into cooking for yourself, but you have the fall back of the dining hall to socialize and meet with friends and a backup for meals when you don’t have anything planned or haven’t gotten to the grocery store,” Sine said.
Even before the renovations there were waiting lists for students to live in Western Shore buildings, and the project will leave the same number of beds available: 172 split among 43 four-bedroom, two-bath apartments. But the new kitchens and updated living rooms will provide more of the amenities many students were seeking.
“It’s a nice upgrade and investment in the student experience,” Sine said. “We are small enough we can do that; we can focus on the overall experience.”