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Phoenix campus looks to open second residential hall 10 years after Taylor Place

2018 marks the 10 year anniversary of what is currently the only student dorm on the downtown Phoenix campus


Students walk past Taylor Place on ASU's downtown Phoenix campus on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

The Taylor Place dorms are a staple of the Downtown Phoenix campus, but only 10 years ago there was nothing but a liquor store and a dry cleaner in its place.

The staff of Taylor Place celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the dorm with festivities on Sept. 25 that included free t-shirts, giveaways and a reunion event inviting integral staff and students who were present at the launch of the building.

Georgeana Montoya, associate vice president for student services, was the dean of students for the Downtown Phoenix Campus in 2008 when Taylor Place was built. For the first two years of the Downtown Phoenix Campus, around 150 students lived in a Ramada Inn, where the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is now located. 

“When ASU came downtown, it was desolate," Montoya said. "It was something that wanted to happen, but there just wasn't an ability for it to happen. Downtown really came alive when ASU was established (and) our students started living here 24/7.”

Montoya said it's been an amazing experience seeing the campus grow, especially in the last two years.

Taylor Place is currently at 100 percent capacity with 1,284 students, but Montoya said the campus plans to build an apartment-style residence hall for upperclassmen close to campus. The apartment will host 350 to 450 beds.

"Taylor Place will eventually become all freshman as well as our Barrett honors students (with their) second year requirement,” she said.

She said the goal is to guarantee an opportunity to all students to live downtown.

“I think it's just ensuring that we have the right mix of housing to accommodate all of our students as they (progress) from their freshman year to their senior year," Montoya said.

Montoya said she witnessed Taylor Place debate phone lines in dorms, but they decided against that with the rise of cellphones. Montoya said Taylor Place aims to follow modern trends with renovation.

“I don't really think anybody thought that ASU Downtown could be what it is today, so it’s significant in the sense that the community that ASU has down here is one which students love,” Montoya said

Kevin Schaudt, director of operations at Taylor Place since 2011, led the festivities for the 10th anniversary and said he's pleased with the reception of students who live in the dorms.

“From what we hear from students and the survey results we get, students enjoy living here,” he said.

He said Taylor Place is and always has been an integral part of the downtown Phoenix campus.

“We grew with the campus and the University,” Schaudt said. “There were only a few buildings when Taylor Place was built at about the same time (as) the Cronkite School was, and since then, we've seen several other buildings and colleges built.”

Schaudt saw the occupancy increase from 1,063 to 1,284 during his about 7 years at Taylor Place.

"We spend anywhere, in regards of upkeep of the building besides our basic operating costs, about $500,000 in reserve capital projects and in maintaining the building for summer projects," Schaudt said. 

This year, they will spend $100,000 on an upgrade for the boilers, replace the flooring on the 12 floors which still need to be updated and look at improving the fitness room.

Irma Canseco, academic advising manager for the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was one of the freshman who lived in the Ramada Inn, which was refereed to as the Residential Commons or ResCom, before Taylor Place was finished.

Canseco said she saw first-hand the transition from the Residential Commons to a parking lot and then to the law school that stands there today.

"Sometimes, I’ll look at the law school, and I’ll still see ResCom," she said.

Canseco moved into Taylor Place as one of the first community assistants as a sophomore when the dorms opened in 2008. During her move-in, the kitchen and dining hall were still incomplete.

“We moved in with hardhats, and we had to have closed toe shoes, and there was a lot of things that we had to walk around as they were still trying to finish up the building for move-in,” Canseco said. “It was amazing to see that in a three-week span, it went from being not finished to being completely done.”

Canseco said the group of students who first moved in had to set the benchmark for the potential of the campus, and they made many changes to Taylor Place, such as petitioning for the seating on the first floor to be made more comfortable. 

Canseco said she built a family out of the community that gathered when the school first opened.

“All of my best friends literally are from living in Taylor Place,” she said. “I met them all from working here, being a student leader here (and) I live with two of my best friends I met here.”

Canseco said that as ASU builds the new residential hall downtown, it will be important to create a community like the one she found at Taylor Place.

“It was new (and) it was exciting,” Canseco said. “Downtown was one of those 'Is it going to work? Can we have a university in Downtown Phoenix? Are students going to want to live there and to thrive there? Is the campus going to thrive?' and I think we've proven that’s definitely true."

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