Atwater Commons at Middlebury College

Named for Jeremiah Atwater (b. 1773), the first president of Middlebury College, Atwater Commons is one of Middlebury’s five residential colleges. Middlebury is the first liberal arts college in the United States to establish a system of smaller residential colleges, here called Commons, within itself. The buildings of Atwater Commons include Allen Hall (1963), Le Château (1925), Coffrin Hall (1986), and the new Building A, Building B, and Atwater Dining Hall (2004). For more information about this decentralized residential college arrangement please visit The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges and Higher Education Reform. A collection of photos of Ross Commons is also available.

[Atwater Commons Building A and Building B on the Middlebury College campus in Vermont.]

The new “Building A” and “Building B” of Atwater Commons on the Middlebury College campus, seen from the east lawn of Coffrin Hall. These new buildings opened for student occupancy in August 2004.

[Atwater Commons Building B seen from the southwest.]

A southwest view of Atwater Commons “Building B” at the completion of construction, with landscaping yet to be done.

[The Atwater Commons dining hall at Middlebury College, still under construction.]

The picture windows of the Atwater Commons dining hall, still under construction. The dining hall is recessed into the hillside and is being built with a green roof to reduce energy consumption.

[Allen Hall, one of the Atwater Commons buildings at Middlebury College.]

Allen Hall, built in 1963, is one of the pre-existing residential buildings that has been incorporated into Atwater Commons.


Le Château, built in 1925, is one of the most distinctive buildings on the Middlebury College campus. It is a combined residential and office building, and now serves as part of Atwater Commons. Allen Hall is behind and out of view, and the new Atwater Commons buildings are behind and to the left (not yet present when this photo was taken).


Coffrin Hall (right foreground), one of the Atwater Commons residence halls, with Atwater’s new “Building A” rising in the background. Coffrin, popularly known as “The Barns,” was built in 1986 and named for Middlebury trustee Albert W. Coffrin. The fall scenery of Vermont’s Green Mountains appears in the distance.


A later view of Atwater Commons construction. Coffrin Hall is in the middle distance with Atwater “Building A” behind. Freeman International Center (not part of Atwater Commons) appears in the lower left.

© RJO 1995–2018