Nadia Kamarudin says she can wake up at 7:50 a.m. and make it to an 8 o’clock class.
Thinking I misheard the Everett Community College student, I asked “7:15?” No, she insisted, 7:50.
In the open-air courtyard of the college’s new Cedar Hall, Kamarudin and a friend were playing Ping-Pong on Thursday. Taking a break, she talked about life in the newest residence hall on campus.
“I love the people,” the 19-year-old said. She came to EvCC from Malaysia with a scholarship from her government, and plans to study chemical engineering. In Cedar Hall, where Kamarudin is a resident assistant, “I get to meet more people from different cultures,” she said.
An innovative apartment building with four stories above its lower-level interior courtyard, Cedar Hall is on Broadway across 10th Street from EvCC’s first housing complex, Mountain View. Mike Bowers, EvCC’s new director of student housing, said Mountain View offers “more traditional campus housing” in its 120 single rooms.
Cedar Hall, which can house up to 132 people, also has private bedrooms but there are more communal spaces. Three- and four-bedroom suites each have a common kitchen and living room. There also are five studio apartments, some designed for people with disabilities.
Every Cedar Hall apartment opens onto that stunner of a courtyard. It’s a welcoming place with a push-button gas fire pit and outdoor lighting. On Thursday, students from near and far chatted away while roasting marshmallows and munching on after-class s’mores. A TV lounge and high-tech laundry room also are on the courtyard level.
Fall quarter started Monday at EvCC. By Friday afternoon, Bowers said, there were rooms for 10 more students in Mountain View and 15 in Cedar Hall. Housing costs vary by residence hall, time of year, and whether leases are for one quarter or a whole year. Cedar Hall prices can be as low as $1,540 per quarter, in summer, up to $4,380 per quarter for a studio apartment fall quarter.
Student apartments aren’t limited to EvCC’s international students.
“A surprising number of kids actually live in the area,” Bowers said. There are university students, too, in both buildings. Three residents attend Washington State University North Puget Sound at Everett, Bowers said, and two are from Western Washington University at Everett University Center on the EvCC campus.
The college calls it student housing, but Cedar Hall looks to me like a house of dreams.
Richelle Pidong, another RA in the building, came from Hawaii’s Big Island. The 22-year-old is working toward her bachelor’s degree in human services at WWU in Everett.
Erick Montiel, also from Hawaii, plans to transfer to WSU in Pullman to complete a degree in mechanical engineering. The 18-year-old said he’s saving money and living in “housing that’s brand new” by starting at EvCC.
Koyo Yoshida, 18, hopes to be an airline pilot. Sitting by the fire pit, he said he came from Tokyo to EvCC with plans to transfer to the University of North Dakota, which has an aviation department.
Katalina Nail, 18, has family in Arlington but came to EvCC from Chile to study nursing.
Chris Reilly and Ashley Kay Smith came to Cedar Hall from this area. Smith, 23, said she grew up “down the street.” An Everett High School graduate, she plays on EvCC’s volleyball and basketball teams.
For Reilly, who is living in a three-bedroom suite at Cedar Hall, college is a new experience. At 22, the former Whidbey Island man moved from transitional housing into the residence hall. “This is my first quarter of my first year,” said Reilly, who also hopes to become a nurse.
Outside Cedar Hall, 21-year-old Libbie Poirier had arrived from home in Wenatchee with her parents, Mike and Maureen Poirier. She earned an associate’s degree in her hometown, but will take prerequisite classes at EvCC to get into a software engineering program.
In each room and suite, and around that fire pit, students have big dreams.
They also have some supervision. Chelsea Shepherd, an EvCC employee and Cedar Hall’s assistant director of residence life, lives in the building. Rules call for an alcohol-free and no-smoking environment. There’s no food service in the residence halls, but cooking in the kitchens, food from the Parks Student Union, vending machines, a nearby Starbucks, restaurants and those yummy s’mores keep students fed.
Pat Sisneros, EvCC’s vice president of college services, said the college has no current plans for more housing. “But I’m sure it’s an area we will look at again in a few years,” he said. “We know there is interest from local developers to construct market-rate apartments in the area.”
Together, the new halls have dramatically changed north Broadway. They lend the skyline a sleek new look while bringing top-notch live-on-campus opportunities. An older campus apartment building, the Loma Vista, was torn down to make way for Cedar Hall.
“You can definitely see there’s a revitalization. It’s great that we can be part of that,” Bowers said.
“It is amazing,” agreed Jason Colon, a 23-year-old Cedar Hall RA from New York City. “It’s going to change the whole culture.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about housing at Everett Community College: