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Vol. 5 No. 30 | Aug. 13, 2008
Cool, 'green' Aspen Crossing opens to freshmen
Incoming freshmen will have a chance to live in the newest—and greenest—residence hall available when Aspen Crossing opens its doors.
"It filled to capacity long before we were able to walk through the building," said Cynthia Anderson, senior associate director of Residence Life.
Aspen Crossing will house about 360 students in 181 suite-style rooms, meaning two rooms—four residents—share each bathroom. This year the hall will be limited to freshmen who are part of an academic living community, such as in business, biomedical professions or physics and astronomy.
Members of the Arizona Board of Regents will stage a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Aug. 14, to officially open the hall. Students will begin moving in Aug. 21.
The residence hall has the amenities that students expect in modern university living quarters, such as wireless Internet access, two large kitchens per floor, large common areas, game and exercise rooms and a large outdoor grassy square with barbecue grills.
However, several academic and environmental amenities set Aspen Crossing apart from other residence halls, Anderson said.
Aspen Crossing will feature two classrooms where courses linked to the residents' learning communities will be taught. In the evening, the classrooms will be used for tutoring and hall-sponsored programs.
Although classrooms can also be found in Cowden and Tinsley halls, Aspen Crossing will have an apartment for NAU's first faculty-in-residence, Niranjan Venkatraman, assistant professor of electrical engineering. Venkartram will be actively involved in supporting the learning communities associated with the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences and working with staff to create an environment that supports and extends student learning, Anderson explained.
"If students don't make a purposeful connection with their university in a relatively short time, it can prove difficult for their personal education," Anderson said. "The learning communities and faculty-in-residence concept will help our students bond with one another and with NAU."
Apsen Crossing was constructed to standards set forth by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System.
Although NAU is not seeking LEED certification, some of the "green" features include thermal glass throughout the building; low-energy heating with limited individual thermostats; motion-sensitive public area lighting; low-voltage lighting with electronic ballasts throughout the building; extensive use of natural lighting; low-flow toilets and showers; energy-efficient appliances on the floors; and landscaping that includes drought-tolerant plants to be watered using reclaimed water.
"Many colleges and universities are constructing new residential facilities with attention to sustainability and support of student learning inside and out of the formal classroom," Anderson said. "Because NAU has long been a leader in environmental research and education, it only makes sense to carry that tradition into the living areas."
Aspen Crossing also is the first NAU hall to have key-card access to individual rooms, adding to the safety and security of residents.
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