St. Olaf College | Ole Avenue Project

Big News! The Ole Avenue Project

Dear Oles:

At St. Olaf College we are “intensely residential.” The opportunity for students to live and learn together in community fosters lifelong friendships and prepares Oles to take their place after graduation as leaders in cities, towns, and communities around the world. Residence life is a defining part of the St. Olaf experience.

I’m writing today to introduce you to the Ole Avenue Project, our plan to make a significant new investment in this residential experience. The College is going to build a new 300-bed residence hall on the south side of St. Olaf Avenue and additional town house-style residences with 140 student beds to replace the houses on the north side of St. Olaf Avenue. These new residences will reduce overcrowding in our existing residence halls and provide attractive new housing options for you.

This project will also create a new gateway to St. Olaf as you approach the College from Northfield, including 200 additional parking stalls, green space, and other improvements.

Watch this video to see the new vitality the Ole Avenue Project will bring to our campus and community.

This project was informed by listening to students over the past two years about our existing on-campus housing and our needs for the future. Thank you to everyone who shared your perspective with us through surveys, focus groups, and community meetings.

The residence hall and town houses will meet 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.

Construction of the new buildings will begin in fall 2020. Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life Pamela McDowell will share additional information in the coming days about how the Ole Avenue Project will impact room draw for the 2020-21 academic year. More information and maps of the project area are available at the Ole Avenue Project  site. If you have any questions, please contact Pamela McDowell at

Living together in community lies at the core of the Ole experience, and we are recognizing that fact by making this bold investment in the future of St. Olaf.

Um! Yah! Yah!