In 2009, Bellevue College dropped "community" from its name, and started offering four-year degrees. However, fostering community is still at the heart of the organization’s mission, especially as it began planning for on-campus housing. The completion of this new student housing project marks the beginning of their transition from a commuter campus to a flourishing, multicultural residential college.
This 350-bed residential hall is the first phase of Bellevue College’s new student housing development. Understanding that this project was about more than creating a place for students to sleep, efforts started with a comprehensive student housing master plan to help the college understand the requirements for successful on-campus housing and establish their long-term goals. This new residence hall is the first step in creating an inclusive, live/learn student village, supporting Bellevue College’s vision to transform their campus into a 24/7 neighborhood that promotes the well-being and academic achievement of students, and offers a place where individuals can connect, thrive, and grow.
A 13,000-square-foot community hub with a cafe, lounge, and additional classroom space is located on the first floor, providing a destination where both residents and commuter students can gather and interact. A second level roof deck offers territorial views of downtown Bellevue, and a visual connection to the campus’s academic core.
A central courtyard extends off of the hub, acting not only as an outdoor gathering space, but as a way to celebrate sustainability. The new residence hall is targeting LEED Platinum certification, and this courtyard intentionally puts eco-friendly strategies on display. The terraced landscape design includes cascading rain gardens that engage observers while educating them about how natural, low-impact systems filter and clean stormwater. A series of waterfalls carries rainwater along an outdoor amphitheater, which features lines from a Langston Hughes poem about rain etched into the seat walls. Bellevue College’s student government embraced this highly-visible sustainability initiative, and voted to help bring it to life by investing their own student fund into these sustainable landscape improvements.