In 2010, the City of Williston, North Dakota’s population boomed. While the discovery of oil brought opportunity and wealth, it also brought major housing shortages as workers poured into the area in search of black gold. With the population quickly rising, Williston residents, including students at Williston State College, were being forced to sleep in shifts in the few apartment complexes available in town. Many new residents were also resorting to living in campers, braving chilling temperatures of sometimes 40 below. Williston State College needed to provide safe, functional, and dedicated housing for its students that not only provided them a place to live, but also served as a tool to attract and educate future leaders throughout the state.
During the planning process with JLG, the College was determined to address the overall lack of a “campus feel” by working to develop a new campus master plan that used the residence hall as the first step in elevating the College and its recruitment. What emerged was Frontier Hall, the first residence hall on the Williston State College campus, offering 170 beds, student study areas, gathering spaces, and beautiful views of the Missouri River Valley.
To fill the desperate need for student study areas, the central core of the Hall contains three levels of open study spaces. The core also acts as the main vertical circulation, centralizing the building’s activity and connecting to the two housing wings. An atrium within this area opens the first and second floors up to the large exterior glass walls that frame the river views. The fourth floor also offers breathtaking views surrounding a large conference room that is available for campus-wide use.
In proximity to the main classroom building, Frontier Hall gives students the safe housing they need while creating a boulevard and quadrangle that sets in motion the development of a reinvigorated campus – giving WSC students a more welcoming entry, and comfortable gathering and study spaces built for a brighter future.