WSC Frontier Hall
Williston State College
In 2010, the city of Williston, North Dakota boomed. The discovery of oil brought with it great opportunity, wealth…and a massive housing shortage as workers poured into the area in search of black gold. With the population growing at an astounding 13.4%, residents - including students at Williston State College - were being forced to sleep in shifts in the few apartment complexes available in town or outside in campers, or worse, in -40 degree weather. Williston State College knew it needed to provide safe, functional and dedicated housing for its students that not only provided them with a place to live, but acted as a recruitment tool in order to attract and educate future leaders for the entire state. During the planning process, the College became determined to address the overall lack of a “campus feel” by working with the architect to develop a new campus master plan which used the residence hall as the first step in elevating the College as a whole.
The final result was Frontier Hall, the first residence hall on the Williston State College campus. With 170 beds and ample student study and gathering spaces, the siting of the facility set in motion the development of a new campus boulevard and quadrangle and defined the entire campus entry through the residence hall’s relationship to the main classroom building. Frontier Hall also maximized the campus’ site potential with views of the Missouri River Valley. To fill the dramatic need for student study areas, the central core of the Residence Hall contains three levels of generous open study spaces. It also acts as the building’s main vertical circulation, centralizing the building’s activity and providing connection to the two housing wings. An atrium within this core opens the first and second floors up to the large exterior glass walls which frame views of the river valley. The fourth floor is dedicated to a large conference room. This conference room is available for campus-wide use, and has expansive, breathtaking views of the landscape in all directions.
Janice Arnson, WSC Housing and Safety Officer