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Seattle University


A New Home

Written by Mike Thee
October 12, 2011

Seattle University’s ongoing effort to provide more student housing received a big boost this fall with the opening of the Douglas on 12th and Cherry. 

The building provides 259 beds. Nearly all are filled, with 37 percent occupied by non-traditional freshmen and/or sophomores, 37 by percent juniors, 22 by percent seniors and 4 percent by graduate or law students.  

For the upperclass, graduate and law students, the infusion of new housing is particularly welcome. 

“The Douglas offers a much-needed option for upperclassmen to remain on campus while experiencing a more apartment-like living environment,” says Kathi Baker, director of Housing and Residence Life. “Upperclassmen have gradually been given fewer on-campus living options as we’ve had to make room for larger incoming classes. The Douglas helps to relieve some of the pressure for meeting the student demand.” 

As a quick review, the Douglas is a partnership between SU and the developer Seneca Group. The students living in the building pay rent directly to Seneca, which owns the building. SU owns the land and collects rent on the land from Seneca. Eventually—as in many decades—ownership of the building will revert to the university. 


The university is leasing 6,000 square feet of space on the ground floor  for the students who reside in the building. The space includes a lounge, laundry room, media center and meeting rooms. As with residence halls on campus, Housing and Residence Life maintains a front desk in the Douglas, and a resident director, four resident assistants and a Jesuit in residence are assigned to the building. 

Joining the Housing and Residence Life staff in the building is the Center for Service and Community Engagement, which moved into the Douglas in August. 

“We are delighted to move into the new office space,” says Kent Koth, director of the Center for Service and Community Engagement and Seattle University Youth Initiative. Koth sees symbolic value in the center being located in the Youth Initiative.  

“We now are much more accessible to our community and campus partners and the bountiful windows in the office model our commitment to transparent and authentic engagement between campus and community. Please come visit us.” 

The building incorporates a variety of features consistent with the university’s commitment to sustainability, including a rainwater courtyard garden; reclaimed Douglas Fir in the lobby; centralized laundry facilities; and more bike storage than vehicle parking (66 bike stalls and 49 vehicle stalls). The Douglas has earned a Built Green Three-Star rating and participated in the City of Seattle’s Built Smart Program that resulted in rebates totaling $70,000. Other eco-friendly elements include extra insulation; energy-saving windows; long lasting; energy-efficient lighting; passive ventilation and high-efficiency thermostats; and energy and water-efficient washing machines. 

For more information, visit The Douglas.