The Ethel Walker School Breaks Ground on Sustainable Residence Hall

New Residence Hall Groundbreaking

Head of School Dr. Meera Viswanathan, Architecture Club Co-Head Cathy Fang ’24, Sustainability Seminar student Makayla Nowak ’25, and Chair of the Board of Trustees Katharine “Kit” O’Brien Rohn ’82.

The Ethel Walker School officially broke ground on a new three-story residence hall on Friday, April 28, 2023. The new residence hall, designed by Maryann Thompson Architects, will feature 36 dorm rooms and four faculty apartments and will open for the 2024-2025 school year.

The building is designed with a focus on sustainability, featuring Pika-Pika charred cedar wood, a roof adorned with succulents and other green vegetation, and solar panels that will provide 50 percent of the energy for the building. Rainwater collection will be utilized to provide gray water usage via chains and buried rain hogs that will capture rainfall. The building will also feature charging stations to provide power to electric vehicles and overhanging eaves to promote energy efficiency.

The groundbreaking was attended by The Ethel Walker School Board of Trustees, the School student body, local community members, and partners on the project. Speakers included Head of School Meera Viswanathan, the Chair of the Board of Trustees Katharine “Kit” O’Brien Rohn ’82, Architecture Club Co-Head Cathy Fang ’24, and Sustainability Seminar student Makayla Nowak ’25. The new residence hall is part of The Ethel Walker School’s ongoing commitment to the environment and the stewardship of its local surroundings.

Viswanathan says, “We are thrilled to break ground on our new residence hall, which represents a significant investment in our students, providing them with a place to flourish organically. We believe this project will serve as a model for sustainable building practices, not only for our school community but for others as well. We’re excited to welcome our students, faculty, and staff to their new home in 2024, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact this building will have.”

New Residence Hall exterior