La Paz celebrates long-awaited grand opening

By Heather M. Molina

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The grand opening of UA's newest residence hall, Colonia de La Paz, had residents relieved it was finally completed.

The celebration kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday morning.

The participants included LaPaz Hall President Jean Ngo; UA President Manuel Pacheco; Residence Hall Association President Steve Parker; and Associated Student Government President Benjamin Driggs. Tours of the facility were held as part of the Family Weekend activities, and guests were guided by residents.

"When we checked in at the beginning of the school year, they had us sign up to give tours if we were interested," said creative writing fresman Michelle Mobley. "The majority of students I've met here have been freshmen." As she guides a group around, she focuses on what she finds attractive about the hall. She stops in one of the courtyards.

"This is the Luna courtyard," says Mobley. "I think the most interesting thing about this one is the design. It makes me think of the Aztecs. It also has fireplaces, which we can't use yet because the hall goverment needs to make regulations for them."

The new hall has six interior courtyards; two medium-sized ones and four small ones. All the courtyards, as well as some of the recreational rooms have special names to define the personality meant to be displayed by their designs. Placita de la Luna (moon) and Placita del Sol (sun) are the two larger courtyards. The smaller courtyards, Azcuena (white lily), Butterfly, Chuparosa (hummingbird) and Dove Gardens are arranged in alphabetical order from north to south.

At the end of the small courtyards are iwans open-aired living rooms. The iwans serve as a multi-purpose room where students may visit with friends or study.

"Another unique thing about LaPaz is that no two rooms are alike," said Mobley.

Rooms vary from suites or singles to doubles with community bathrooms. Students are given the opportunity to arrange their rooms in any fashion. All furniture is easily movable and beds can be lifted or lowered, depending on preference. Forest green carpet travels throughout the floors, and accents of mauve color the doors and blinds in each room. Students also have access to two kitchens/game rooms, and after January the computer lab is expected to be completed.

The new hall is designed to promote academics. There are study rooms on each floor and there is a study "bridge" that overlooks the Sol courtyard.

"The whole (hall) is unique," said undecided freshman Chad Lemely. "I like new things. The atmosphere is great. And I like how my room faces outside."

"I'm glad it's done," said business freshman Damon Handley. "For the first two months, I woke up every morning to construction. But it was worth it. It's cool being in the best dorm on campus."

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