St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf dedicates Ole Avenue Project

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Members of the St. Olaf College campus community celebrated the completion of the Ole Avenue Project with a dedication service and ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 13.

The Ole Avenue Project, which features a new residence hall and townhouses along St. Olaf Avenue, has transformed housing on campus. Not only has it created a beautiful new gateway to St. Olaf on the eastern edge of campus, but it has enabled the college to address a longstanding housing shortage on campus and begin renovations to existing residence halls.

Students moved into the new housing as they returned to campus this fall, and the dedication service and ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official completion of the project. The day’s events began with a dedication service in Boe Memorial Chapel that featured remarks from Jan van den Kieboom, the owner of Workshop Architects, the firm that designed the project; Tom Boldt ’74, the CEO of the Boldt Group, which led construction of the project; and Pamela McDowell, who oversaw residence life during the construction of the Ole Avenue Project and now serves as the college’s Title IX and Section 504 coordinator. All three emphasized the impact the project has had on the St. Olaf community.

“The opening of this new housing immediately impacted every single residence we have on campus,” McDowell said during her remarks at the dedication service. Making this investment in campus housing is important, she notes, because so much of the St. Olaf experience happens as students live in community with one another. “When I look at this project, I see lifelong friendships. I see our community,” she added.

Togetherness is what this project is all about. It’s what drove the thinking behind what we now see.Workshop Architects Owner Jan van den Kieboom

Workshop Architects designed the $60 million project, which houses 440 students. In his dedication remarks, van den Kieboom noted that the key architectural features of the project are the spaces where students come together to cook, study, relax, and socialize. 

“Togetherness is what this project is all about,” he said. “It’s what drove the thinking behind what we now see.”

The new residence hall features 80,000 square feet of living areas for 300 students on three floor levels and includes an 8,000 square foot health services area. The 14 new townhouses each house 10 students in comfortable, residential-style living spaces. All of the new housing meets today’s standards for fire safety, accessibility, egress, indoor air quality, and other essentials, including allowing the college to have a more gender inclusive approach to housing students.

Following the dedication service, members of the campus community walked down the Hill for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new residence hall and townhouses. Following remarks from President David R. Anderson ’74, project leaders cut the ribbon, marking the successful completion of the project that began in February 2020.

Below watch a timelapse of the Ole Avenue Project from start to finish.