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Students move into new Downtown Phoenix dorm

Fusion on First joins Taylor Place as the second residence hall on the Downtown Phoenix campus

Fusion on First
Fusion on First, the new apartment-style dorm on the ASU Downtown campus, is pictured on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in Phoenix.

Fusion on First welcomed its inaugural batch of students and became another home for upperclassmen studying on the Downtown Phoenix campus Monday.

The new residence hall becomes the second dorm to be built on the Downtown Phoenix campus alongside Taylor Place, which opened in 2008. Fusion on First will house upperclassmen and students studying in the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

ASU broke ground for Fusion on First in March 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. Despite the pandemic, the dorm still opened by its targeted completion date.

Fusion on First reflects a "forward-thinking new building type that makes Phoenix among the first cities in the U.S. to have a university-activated downtown space," Annie DeGraw, a University spokesperson, said in an email.

According to University Housing's website, the first three floors of the building feature classrooms and workspaces, creating a "high-tech innovation hub" that caters to design and art students. The remaining 13 floors currently house 533 students in apartment-style 4-bedroom, 2-bedroom or studio units.

"The building is structured into zones allowing students and professionals to connect with the surrounding city and business community through large windows, a street-level park, and an east-west pedestrian paseo, creating a nucleus for innovation in the arts," DeGraw said.

DeGraw said the building will also include design studios, fashion studios, fabrication labs, a music recording studio, a food service area, space for live events and more. The building will also house Flip Kitchen, a new dining option for students.

"Demand for housing in Downtown continues to grow and ASU is always looking at the best, most innovative ways, to meet this demand," DeGraw said.

Ethan Whitney, a senior studying popular music, moved into the building during the first day of official move-ins on Monday and said the process was "really smooth."

"I came, I had a ton of stuff, and they had movers, like actual movers here, and they helped bring all of our stuff in one trip," Whitney said.

According to DeGraw, construction on the building has been completed. However, while Whitney said his room was "great," he also saw that some areas of the building were still being worked on. 

"As far as the room goes, I love it," Whitney said. But "kinks that need to be fixed" are still being worked on, he said.

On many floors, classrooms, elevators and other rooms are not finished being set up, though construction of the building structure itself is complete. 

Whitney is not the only resident noticing some issues early on in their residency. Residence Hall Association Executive Board member Patrick Apap, a sophomore studying public service and public policy, said his main concern for Fusion on First is the relative lack of elevators.

"There are two for the academic floors, one to three, and then there are two for the residential floors, four through 17, and they can be a little slow," Apap said.

Apap moved in early on Aug. 3 while the building was "still in heavy construction" to train for his position in the Residence Hall Association. At the time, he was only allowed to walk through the first floor and go up to his apartment unit.

"There's definitely a lot of workspace areas, common areas for events," Apap said. "It looks gorgeous overall, even through construction."


Reach the reporter at idortch@asu.edu and follow @bellinilane on Twitter.

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