More than 800 freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences moved into the newly renovated Manzanita Hall last weekend.
The renovation, estimated at $50 million, features amenities previously not offered, as well as educational opportunities for students in the residential college.
Kendra Hunter, director of University Housing, said the dorm offers many places for students to study and interact.
“We have a business center for students down at the front lobby area," she said. "We have a multipurpose room, which is going to host a number of different supplemental instruction and academic support workshops."
Other amenities include a fitness area, movie theater, game room and recreational area in the back of the building, which features sand volleyball and basketball courts.
The redesign kept sustainability in mind by including skylights and large windows on the first floor, Hunter said.
University officials worked to meet sustainability standards to make the building fit LEED silver certification.
Rita McGlynn, senior community mentor for Manzanita Hall, said the redesign downsized the occupancy level from 1,000 students to 816 to provide larger suite and bathroom accommodations for residents.
“The bathrooms are actually where we increased the square footage for each room the most during renovation," she said. "There’s a lot of storage space."
The suites come with mini fridges and microwaves, a luxury unique to Manzanita.
Although University officials pushed to revamp Manzanita's image, they emphasized maintaining the dorm's history. Manzanita first opened in 1967 as a women's dorm.
“We did not take the shell because the building is an icon in Tempe," Hunter said. "On the first floor is the original terrazzo that was in the building, and it was just ultimately repaired."
Art and displays throughout the building celebrate Manzanita's history.
“All of the artwork are old photos of when Manzanita was originally open,” McGlynn said.
Students were involved throughout the renovation design process, Hunter said.
“Basically, when the design team came in, they brought together a number of different groups to ... brainstorm what would be the ideal living amenities and design to support students’ academic success,” she said.
The new study areas and larger living spaces give students the opportunity to succeed.
“That’s the bottom line," Hunter said. "We want to make sure our students are feeling supported and that the physical space is provoking intellectual thought.”
Many students expressed surprise at features of the renovated facility.
Chemistry freshman Justin Macy, who moved in during August, said he really liked the renovation.
"I was very surprised to have the nice bed, the nice desk, the microwave, the fridge," he said. "I knew it had been renovated, but I didn't think it was going to be this new."
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