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Academic year begins with new faces, state-of-the-art facilities

August 25, 2008

Thousands of new and returning students are settling into new residence halls, navigating campus and starting classes as the new academic year begins at Arizona State University.

Nearly 11,000 students moved into residence halls on the four ASU campuses last week. They took part in activities such as a Welcome Luau at the Polytechnic campus; barbecue and pool party at the West campus; walking and eating tour of Copper Square at the Downtown Phoenix campus; and whitewashing the “A” on Tempe Butte at the Tempe campus.

This year marks a round of new beginnings at ASU with the opening of new residence halls in Taylor Place at the Downtown Phoenix campus and Vista del Sol in Tempe.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has a new downtown home in a state-of-the-art journalism complex that is located near the state’s major media outlets. The school is designed to teach and inspire digital media innovation from their new location at Central Avenue and Fillmore Street.

The Cronkite School includes features such as the First Amendment Forum that is designed for informal gatherings and nightly public events; a 144-seat Cronkite Theater equipped with high definition TV cameras; seven state-of-the-art newsrooms and media incubators; and seven digital computer labs. The building will also provide a new home for KAET/Eight, one of the country’s largest PBS stations.

Taylor Place is a new 13-story, 576-bed tower at First and Taylor streets that incorporates sustainable elements such as using air conditioning condensation for irrigation and utilizing dual-flush toilets in restrooms. Students also benefit from the latest technology through digital bulletin boards and a system that sends a text message when their laundry is done.

Taylor Place’s second tower is scheduled to open in 2009. The design of the buildings feature exterior bridges connecting the towers, ground-floor retail, dining, shade garden, fitness center and 24-hour security desk.

Vista del Sol in Tempe welcomed about 1,800 upper-division residents last week. Located at 701 E. Apache Boulevard, the new housing offer amenities such as fully furnished living quarters, and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.

Other features at Vista del Sol include study rooms, student lounges, computer and business center, a media and theater room, swimming pool and fitness center. Residents can also work out at sand and volleyball courts. Or, they can enjoy a game room, clubhouse and student development programs.

Students and visitors to the Tempe campus are also returning to a new and improved Memorial Union. The facility has undergone extensive renovations. Although it is open, the offical grand re-opening will be held Thursday, Aug. 28, at 8:30 a.m. on the North Plaza.