New front in arms race: WSU has unique tool

IT DOESN'T GET much attention, standing there in the shadow of glossy football-only complexes and stadium expansion projects. But where an incoming freshman recruit lives on campus as a student is perhaps the next front in the athletics arms race. And Washington State looks to be positioned nicely.

Every freshman in Mike Leach's new recruiting class will be living in WSU's Northside Residence Hall this fall -- a fact WSU's official football Twitter account recently boasted. This will be the third class Leach has been able to take advantage of the $32.6 million state-of-the-art facility located across Colorado Street from Mooberry Track and Hollingbery Fieldhouse. The five-story, 300-room co-ed hall opened in 2013.

We've searched the Web at depth and made a few phone calls, and unless another Pac-12 school has built something in the last year we couldn't find, no other school in the conference appears to have any on-campus housing that beats it.

Why is that important?

Every football staff benefits by being able to recruit to strong facilities -- and WSU took care of that last year in football with the opening of the new Football Complex. But Washington State can also point with pride to where their new football recruits will live.

Northside includes pianos in the lobbies, kitchenettes at the end of each hall, laundry facilities, recreation lounges, an inviting common area and more.

“Northside Hall is the epitome of what we are striving to provide, with amenities and community space that will attract and retain students to live on campus,” WSU assistant vice president Terry Boston said when it opened. “This hall sets the benchmark for all future residence hall projects.”

The outdoor patio/deck (pictured below) and courtyard also are among the shared amenities.

Each floor is home to 75 residents, but is then sub-divided into a west community of 37 and an east community of 38. There are various room options, including singles, doubles and suites. This is a virtual tour of a double suite:

If WSU is to consistently attract top talent, they have to be a player in the college football arms race. With the living area for the incoming freshman football class, it's another powerful tool for Leach and his coaches to use on the recruiting trail.

WSU is building another new residence hall just up the way from Northside. The Global Scholars Hall will have space for 275 students and its amenities will also be state-of-the-art. It is scheduled to open in August.

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