Students on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus began their Thursday morning to the sound of power tools being used to change signage at Taylor Place. And by the early afternoon, the widely hailed name was scrubbed clean from every exterior facet of the building replaced with Gordon Commons.
University President Michael Crow, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and former mayor and namesake of the residence hall, former Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, spoke Friday morning to celebrate and make the renaming official.
According to the University's Director for Residential Life Christiana Sletten, the newly christened Gordon Commons is home to 1,300 students with varying majors in journalism, integrated science, health, nursing, public service and management.
"When we opened in 2008, (Taylor Place) allowed for students who were downtown to shift out of living in hotels as they took classes to transitioning to a well supported learning community," Sletten said.
Before being elected, Gordon, who was mayor of Phoenix from 2004 to 2012, worked in public education and as the chief of staff for Mayor Skip Rimza in the 1990s.
"It's very fitting that we have a lot of cranes and a little bit of construction noise as we are here today, because of the investment that Dr. Crow and Mayor Gordon made in downtown that has led to so many people and businesses wanting to be part of our downtown," Gallego said Friday.
One of Gordon's main goals as mayor was to see the downtown Phoenix area expand by way of heavy investment into infrastructure. During his time as mayor Gordon and Phoenix City Council invested $1 billion into the transformation of the downtown area.
Gordon said Friday he is honored to be recognized in the renaming of the residential hall and is proud of the success seen as a result of the revitalization of the downtown Phoenix area.
"Phil was one of the handful of people that intuitively knew that cities, real cities, not suburban places, had been the center of civilization for 3,000 years, and that without a vibrant, populated urban core, something in our soul would be missing," said David Krietor, former deputy city manager, at the event.
Gordon and Crow said they met for breakfast in 2003 in uptown Phoenix to discuss the future of the University. The duo left that morning meal with a napkin sketch of the Downtown Phoenix campus and a mission to bring life back to the quiet city center.
"When I met Phil, upon my appointment, I could tell instantly that I was talking to one of those politicians who got into politics for lots of different reasons, but wanted to make certain that the democracy was more successful going forward, wanted to make certain that the world was being moved forward in a positive direction, wanted to make certain that the city could be better and more beautiful than it was given to him," Crow said Friday.
For over a decade, Taylor Place has been central to the student culture of the Downtown Phoenix campus. Freshman students have called Taylor Place home since construction was completed more than a decade ago. The name change has caused resistance among Downtown Phoenix students who have turned to social media to make jokes and commemorate the end of "TP."
"I just don't like how it (Gordon Commons) sounds," said Alyssa Mejia, a freshman Gordon Commons resident studying parks, recreation and sport management. "Taylor Place just rolls off the tongue."
Edited by Shane Brennan and Piper Hansen.