During a ceremony Friday to mark the grand opening of Barto Hall, Central Washington University’s newest residence hall, CWU President James Gaudino took a poll of the audience. 

“How many of you lived in a residence hall, or as we called them a dorm, sometime in your life?” he said. Several hands in the room went up. 

“How many lived in one as nice as this?” Gaudino said, as most of the hands went down. 

“This is an absolute wonderful facility,” Gaudino said.

The old Barto Hall, which was built in 1962, housed 200 students. It was demolished to make way for the new, $34.5 million, four-story residence hall which opened to students in September. It has more than 360 beds and is more than double the size of the old building.  

Gaudino said when alumni return to campus, they usually ask about their favorite faculty members and programs, but not before asking about their residence halls. 

“That’s really where their heart is because that’s where they spent so much of their time,” Gaudino said.

The new Barto Hall has classroom-like environments, faculty offices, multiple study lounges and is home to CWU’s Douglas Honors College. 

“And it is wired, boy is this place — well it’s not just wired, but it is wired and it is wireless,” Gaudino said. 

Data and power ports are found throughout the building so students can be connected to the rest of the world at all times, he said.

Green building 

There are solar panels on the roof and energy consumption display panels inside so students can see how much energy the building is using. Drought tolerant plants were incorporated into the landscaping around the building, he said. 

Barto Hall was named after Harold Peter Barto who came to CWU in 1932 as an assistant football coach and to teach history, Gaudino said. 

In 1942 Barto became the university’s registrar. In 1946-48 he was the head of social sciences and taught until 1960 when he retired. Barto Hall was named in honor of Barto shortly after his death in 1963, Gaudino said. 

Barto is set to be CWU’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified residence hall. LEED is a green building rating system that takes into account energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction and stewardship of resources. The ratings are certified, silver, gold and platinum — the highest.

Steven Lee, senior associate project manager for Studio Meng Strazzara, an architecture firm that worked on the project, said 95.86 percent of the old Barto Hall has been diverted from landfills. He said 13 million pounds of concrete were crushed on site and used for structural fill under the building and roadways. Lee said 635,000 pounds of metal were sent to recycling.


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