Gonzaga to build new dorm, freeing up housing for upper classmen

Thursday, July 27, 2023

(As reported in The Spokesman Review by Elena Perry)

City approves rezoning of lot for 55-foot-tall, 90- unit space geared toward sophomores on northeast corner of campus.

Gonzaga University will begin building a new 90-unit dorm especially for sophomores this fall. The city of Spokane recently approved the university’s proposal to rezone the lot for the 55-foot-tall, high-density residence hall. Gonzaga will demolish three existing buildings on the site: a single-family home, a triplex and an apartment, all owned by the university. The new dorm will be located at 802 E. Sharp Ave., on the northeast corner of campus. Gonzaga spokesperson Jamie Aitken said the new dorm is the product of the university’s efforts to offer more modern housing to students and relieve some of the demand for on-campus living from upperclassmen.

The university requires students to live on campus in their first two years at the school. Living with peers contributes to socialization of students entering adulthood, according to Gonzaga’s residency requirement. There’s an ever-growing waitlist for on-campus apartments. By providing more dorm options for second-years, Aitken said it will leave the apartments open for juniors and seniors.

Gonzaga’s enrollment has been steady the past decade, with yearly undergraduate headcounts ranging from 4,800 at its lowest and 5,300 at its peak within the years of 2010 to 2021. Factor in graduate students, and enrollment averages at 7,500 students in those years, according to Gonzaga’s website. The new building will be more “contemporary” in design, with suite-style rooms and common areas like kitchens, study spaces and a place for recreation. “These are a good option for sophomores who desire privacy and independence but also look to build community with other students in their halls,” Aitken wrote in an email. Construction on the new dorm is scheduled to start this fall. Elena Perry can be reached at (509) 459-5270 or by email at elenap@spokesman.com