Campus construction is underway

A new wing in Centennial Village opens as the Academic Building is in the works

By Christian Hunick
On September 7, 2018

Photo by Axel Marcenaro
An updated walkway accompanies the completion of the new Centennial wing. Outside of the Commons Building, trees have been planted, tables and chairs set up, and even a weatherproof pong table now sits at the site.

A decade since ASU’s Centennial  Village opened, 162 students are relishing their new digs, the result of a 14 month, $12.7 million construction project that added a new wing.

Meanwhile, construction is still in progress elsewhere on campus, hampering some students trying to get to class on time in the academic building.

Housing and Residential Programs Office Assistant Samantha Cobos is among the first group of residents to live in the new building.

“I like that it feels brighter and smells newer,” Cobos said. “The old dorms looked kind of dull and boring.”

The downside of being the first to live there, Cobos noted, is that is obvious if residents scuff the paint or furniture.

Director of Facilities Planning and Construction Cody Guins said the new wing is very similar to the old ones.

“The layout and furniture are very closely identical,” Guins said. “The things that have changed were lessons learned from the old one, for instance, the type of piping we used for fire sprinklers. We didn’t use the same type of piping because we had problems with it on the first one.”

The access ceilings in the hallways are probably the most noticeable change in the new dorm.
“With the hard gypsum ceiling [in the old wings], every time there was a problem, we would have to cut a hole in it.”

New code requirements also influenced some minor changes.

In the 2011 update of the Centennial Master Plan, a new Academic Building was to be constructed. The current plan, however, calls for renovation of the existing building.
The trees and shrubs that were previously in the breezeway between the two halves of the building have been cleared to make way for a deck with seating, charging stations, and xeriscape. 

The first-floor stairwell is also being moved to the west to open the space up more.
“We want to reinvent the outside of the building,” Guins said “We don’t just want to make it modern, because modern usually equates to quickly dating. We want to make it timeless, but also very clean and refreshed.”

While the new atrium will give the Academic Building a much-needed update, the construction poses an inconvenience to students and faculty who have classes on the lower floor of the building. 

The rooms on this floor are now only accessible via internal stairwells or elevator, leaving some students questioning why ASU would plan to have the building partially unusable at the start of the busy fall semester.

Guins explained that although they got a head start on the project at the beginning of summer, it wasn’t a small enough job to finish before the semester began. 

The completion date for the atrium construction has not been determined, however, one of the currently blocked-off walkways may open to allow limited foot traffic this semester.

“Our goal is to try to have that redelivered to the campus mid-fall,” Guins said.

Students who are unsure of how to get to and from their classes in the Academic Building can follow the posted signs.


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