West breaks ground for new facilities

(Photo by Nathan Meachem)

Moving towards providing a more comprehensive and immersive environment like the Tempe campus, ASU West will soon have another residence hall and a dining facility.

Various representatives from ASU gathered Wednesday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony at ASU West.

“This is an addition of an academic village equal to Hassayampa or Vista Del Sol or Barrett Honors College on the Tempe campus,” ASU President Michael Crow said.

The facilities are scheduled to open in fall 2012.

“When I tell you that this facility will be open for the fall class of 2012, 14 months from now, that’s when this facility will be open … We work in real time, we don’t ponder for long periods of time,” Crow said.

The buildings will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certified. LEED is a rating system that gauges how environmentally friendly a building is, certified being the lowest rating and platinum the highest.

American Campus Communities, the company financing and building the facilities, incorporates this environmentally friendly atmosphere in more ways than just selecting the proper windows or heating system.

“We’re promoting sustainable living with the students through the way we’ve set things up; recycling, cleaning materials and everything else,” ACC Senior Vice President Jason Wills said.

The residential hall will be used to house incoming freshmen. The existing hall, Las Casas, will be for upperclassmen and graduate students.

“It really brings a new dynamic of residential living (and) learning environment, really revolving around a design for freshman to enhance their coming to (ASU West),” said William Bayless, ACC President.

Much of the talk at the groundbreaking ceremony centered on the idea of one ASU, a campus in many places.

“Wherever you attend ASU, we want you to have equal access to the services and the learning environment that you can have anywhere else,” Crow said.

Interdisciplinary Arts and Science senior David Anaya, who was the last speaker of the ceremony, recounted some of his memories of campus life, specifically eating previously forbidden food.

“I remember shortly after moving in, I went grocery shopping … I knew I was going to pick up one thing. It was a box of Lucky Charms cereal,” Anaya said. “First Saturday morning of the semester, opened it, ate the entire box.”

It’s been five years since that Saturday and Anaya has made many memories to go along with that one. For Anaya, living on campus is a great decision.

The College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences makes up 25 percent of the students at ASU West. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers college and the W.P. Carey School of Business also have a strong presence on the campus.

Aramark will be providing the dinning services and some of the funds for the dining hall.

The Polytechnic campus will host a similar groundbreaking ceremony for new residential and dining facilities on Tuesday. These facilities will also open in fall 2012, but instead the partnership is with Inland American Communities Group Inc.

Reach the reporter at ryan.mccullough@asu.edu