Anyone who has recent memories of Arizona State University's iconic Manzanita Hall knows that the place was in desperate need of some love. The dorm rooms hadn't changed much, since they were opened to students in 1967. Before the residential hall was closed almost three years ago, the dorm rooms were cramped and dingy, the beds were uncomfortable, the elevators were slow, and the bathrooms were tiny.
This semester, ASU's incoming freshmen College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students were lucky to have the option of moving into the new and very much improved Manzy. From the outside, it doesn't look like much has changed, but upon walking into the remodeled building it's clear that Manzanita is now one of the nicer dorms on campus.
Construction began in early 2011, transforming Manzanita into a state-of-the art dorm with space for approximately 800 students on its 14 residential floors. The building has nine different floor plans, giving approximately 56 students per floor a brand new, environmentally-sound place to live. The whole building is LEED-certified. Now the lights in the lounge areas and bathrooms all turn off after three minutes of inactivity. The old lock-and-key dorm room doors have been replaced with plastic keys that swipe to lock the doors, making it nearly impossible for students to lock themselves out.
Here's a look at the new Manzy.
Manzy's facelift is clear upon walking into the building. The only thing that remains from the old look is the lobby's original floor.
Down the hall from the front desk is a shared office area, which features iMacs with large screens and a conference table.
Manzy has quite a few community learning areas on the first floor, complete with plenty of whiteboards.
This conference room locks for students' privacy.
The building features nine floor plans on its 14 residential floors, housing approximately 800 students. Most dorms house two students per room and connect to a second room through an adjoining bathroom.The rooms are designed to give students some privacy by suspending the beds above the desks.
The students are peer grouped by majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to enhance a community learning environment.
Manzy's new keys look more like something used to get in a hotel room than a dorm.
All rooms come equipped with a microwave, mini-fridge, and a locking cabinet that's large enough to house a laptop.
The formerly cramped water closets have been expanded, looking nearly twice as large as they used to. The toilet and the shower are now pushed back to avoid some potentially awkward run-ins with suite mates.
Plus, the bathroom medicine cabinets have lots of shelves.
Manzanita's common areas alternate. Even floors have a large lounge with a laundry room and kitchenette. Odd floors have a smaller lounge with a conference room.
The even floors also feature dishwashers. There are no stoves, as per the fire code, but students are encouraged to cook at neighboring San Pablo hall.
Here you can see where Manzanita's old facade ended. The two lounges are easily accessible through the building's large, open design.
The first floor fitness center is convenient for students, bringing exercise machines much closer than the Sun Devil Fitness Center on Apache Boulevard.
Manzanita has plenty of fitness opportunities outside, too.
The faux wood finish on Manzanita's deck is actually recycled plastic, which lasts longer than wood and prevents splintered feet.
All of the games in Manzanita Hall's basement are free to play, and there are plenty to choose from.
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Not surprisingly, the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are already popular choices with incoming freshmen.
Manzanita's newly remodeled community dining area on the first floor is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and features a changing menu. Another sustainability initiative students will encounter is Meatless Mondays, offered among the building's typical vegetarian options.
A glimpse at the salad bar.